Despite the existence of patches that fix serious vulnerabilities such as SMBGhost and BlueKeep, hundreds of thousands of active devices running right now still haven’t been patched by their administrators, according to a recent investigation.
Companies are usually quick to fix severe vulnerabilities but the mere existence of a patch doesn’t mean everyone will install it. In fact, this is a primary reason why threat actors continue to deploy malware and attacks based on older vulnerabilities. They know that many IT admins fail to install the fixes, despite numerous warnings.
Security researcher Jan Kopriva used a tool named Shodan to find out how many unpatched systems are still active. SMBGhost (CVE-2020-0796) is a remote code execution vulnerability exists in the way that the Microsoft Server Message Block 3.1.1 (SMBv3) protocol handles certain requests.
“I’m unsure what method Shodan uses to determine whether a certain machine is vulnerable to SMBGhost, but if its detection mechanism is accurate, it would appear that there are still over 103 000 affected machines accessible from the internet,” said Jan Kopriva. “This would mean that a vulnerable machine hides behind approximately 8% of all IPs, which have port 445 open.”
The situation is even more dire for BlueKeep-infected machines. While the number of compromised systems is falling, an estimated 240,000 endpoints are still running. Bluekeep (CVE-2019-0708) is a remote code execution vulnerability in Remote Desktop Services, formerly known as Terminal Services, when an unauthenticated attacker connects to the target system using RDP sends specially crafted requests.