Vulnerable Dell support tool now detected as risky software

Older versions of Dell System Detect contain a serious vulnerability that allows hackers to install malware on users' computers

Security vendor Malwarebytes has flagged the Dell System Detect tool as a potentially unwanted application after older versions of the program were found to put computers at risk.

Last month a security researcher named Tom Forbes warned that attackers can exploit a weakness in older versions of Dell System Detect to remotely install malware on computers when users visit specially crafted websites.

The program allows Dell's support website to automatically detect the service tags of users' PCs, so it can offer the corresponding drivers. The tool is offered for download when users click the "Detect Product" button on the website for the first time and continues to run in the background after installation.

Forbes reported the issue to Dell back in November and the company released a patched version of Dell System Detect on Jan. 9. However, it seems that many users have not yet updated and their computers are still at risk.

Moreover, the version released by Dell in January -- 6.0.9 -- did not completely fix the problem, researchers from F-Secure said Thursday in a blog post. In order to be secure, users need to install version 6.0.14, which also prevents the program from running automatically when the operating system starts, they said.

Data gathered by F-Secure through its products over the past two weeks showed that Dell System Detect is installed on at least 100,000 computers and only about 1 percent of them run the latest 6.0.14 version.

"We are continuing to investigate further issues and actions that may be necessary to protect our customers," the F-Secure researchers said.

On Friday, security vendor Malwarebytes announced that vulnerable versions of the program will now be detected as PUP.Vulnerable.DellSystemDetect by its products. In the antivirus industry PUP stands for potentially unwanted program.

"We at Malwarebytes are pretty sure there are a lot of folks that won't know about this vulnerability, so we decided to detect it for the sake of raising awareness," the company said in a blog post. "Vulnerable versions of this tool have been seen as early as mid 2012 though most likely even earlier, according to our sources so anyone with a Dell system purchased a few years ago should take special notice and run a scan ASAP."

The owners of Dell computers should either uninstall the tool or ensure that they're running the latest version by following the instructions on Dell's website.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Dellsecuritypatch managementf-secureMalwarebytesExploits / vulnerabilitiesmalwareantivirus

More about DellF-SecureMalwarebytes

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Lucian Constantin

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place