A patch that prevented NordVPN and ProtonVPN clients from running arbitrary code with administrator privileges on Windows machines implemented insufficient controls against the vulnerability, a security researcher discovered.
Both clients use OpenVPN open-source software to set up a secure tunnel from one point to another. The service needs to run with administrator permissions, so any code it runs enjoys these privileges.
Paul Rascagneres of Cisco Talos found that OpenVPN’s configuration file can be altered to include arbitrary code can then pass to the service and executed with system rights under Windows.
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