Enable Automatic Antivirus Updates To Avoid Vulnerability, NCC Urges Telecom Consumers

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has advised telecom consumers and other information and communications technology (ICT) end-users on the need to always enable automatic update features for AVAST and AVG antiviruses to prevent potential cyber vulnerabilities.

This was contained in a new advisory released by the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT), the cybersecurity centre for the telecom sector established by the commission to always keep Nigerians safe in cyberspace.

The advisory noted that cyber vulnerability in AVAST and AVG antiviruses can lead to attacks on millions of devices with grave consequences for the ICT user. The threat types as a result of this vulnerability are bypass authentication, Remote code execution and unauthorised access while consequences range from privilege escalation, bypassing security products, overwriting system components and corrupting the operating system.

According to CSIRT, researchers at SentinelOne, a security firm, have discovered two potentially damaging vulnerabilities in AVAST and AVG antivirus products that allow attackers to escalate privileges enabling them to disable security products, overwrite system components, corrupt the operating system or perform malicious operations unimpeded.

“Two vulnerabilities identified as CVE-2022-26522 and CVE-2022-26523 targeted the ‘Anti Rootkit’ driver of Avast antivirus (also used by AVG) allowing an attacker with limited privileges on the targeted system to execute code in system mode (kernel mode) and take complete control of the device. Moreover, the vulnerabilities allow complete take-over of a device, even without privileges, due to the ability to execute code in kernel mode,” the CSIRT said in the advisory.

A statement by NCC’s director of public affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, said the cybersecurity centre has, however, offered tripartite measures that should be taken by Internet/ICT users to prevent being vulnerable to the cyber threats. They include enabling the automatic update feature for AVAST and AVG antiviruses, upgrading AVAST and AVG antiviruses to version 22.1.2504, as well as carrying out regular patch management.

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