December 13, 2006

MIME encoding could exploit anti-virus

by Brian Turner

Security

Security researcher, Hendrik Weimer, has reported that anti-virus software could be bypassed by exploiting MIME encoding.

MIME – Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions – is used to code mail so that it can be read by SMTP – Simple Mail Transport Protocol.

According to Hendrik, malware could exploit the way MIME is encoded in such a way that security applications would consistently fail to detect it.

It’s not the first time MIME has been fingered as a security risk – as long ago as 2004, concerns were raised by security consultancy Corsaire, who found ambiguities in MIME that required significant patching.

However, it remains to be seen whether security developers will be able to patch the latest issues with MIME – before malware writers are able to exploit it.

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