Alert - DHS CISA told to urgently patch Windows DNS flaw in 24 Hours

Image by DHS from Wikimedia Commons

The Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (DHS CISA) today asked all U.S. federal executive branch departments and agencies to mitigate the Critical SIGRed Windows DNS Server remote code execution (RCE) flaw within 24 hours.

As Microsoft already issued a security update to address this critical Windows vulnerability tracked as CVE-2020-1350 on 14 July 2020, together with a registry-based workaround that does not require a server restart. This security flaw has existed in Microsoft’s code for over 17 years and it impacts all Windows Server versions 2003 through 2019, and it has received a maximum CVSS severity rating of 10 out of 10.

Mitigate on all Windows Server Machines within 24 hours

CISA has determined that this bug poses unacceptable significant risk to the federal Civilian Executive Branch and requires an immediate and emergency action, the agency said in an emergency directive. This determination is based on the likelihood of the flaw being exploited, the widespread use of the affected software across the Federal enterprise, the high potential for a compromise of agency information systems, and the big impact of a successful compromise.

CISA's emergency directive requires agencies to update all endpoints running Windows Server OS within 24 hours (by 2:00 pm EST, Friday, 17 July 2020). Update all the endpoints running Windows Server OS.

a. By 2:00 pm EDT, Friday, 17 July 2020, ensure the July 2020 Security Update or registry modification workaround is applied to all Windows Servers running the DNS role.

b. By 2:00 pm EDT, Friday, 24 July 2020, ensure the July 2020 Security Update is applied to all Windows Servers and, if necessary and applicable, the registry change workaround is removed.

c. By 2:00 pm EDT, Friday, 24 July 2020, ensure technical and/or management controls are in place to ensure newly provisioned or previously disconnected servers are updated before connecting to agency networks.

CISA says that these requirements only apply to Windows Servers in any information system, including information systems used or operated by another entity on behalf of an agency, that collects, stores, processes, disseminates, transmits or otherwise maintains agency information.

Not all Agencies are required to Comply

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) also recommends removing all Windows Server systems that can't be updated within 7 business from the agencies networks.

Federal agencies are required to comply with emergency directives issued by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to protect systems from security threats according to the U.S. Code, however, they do not apply to the Department of Defense or the Intelligence Community (the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Even though the directive only applies to Executive Branch departments and agencies, CISA also urges local and state governments, the private sector, and others to urgently patch this critical vulnerability.

Tweet by CISA (@CISAgov)

The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) also issued an advisory urging to apply the CVE-2020-1350 patch immediately to all Windows Servers Operating System. NSA also said that Internet-facing Windows Servers with DNS server roles will have significant vulnerability risk and should patch or apply the workaround mitigation as soon as possible.

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