Game Developers Warned of Remote Vulnerability in Unity

The popular Unity game platform is vulnerable to remote compromise due to a flaw in the Windows game editor, the company says as it releases a critical patch.

Unity flaw

The popular Unity game platform—used by professionals and hobbyists alike—is vulnerable to remote compromise because of a flaw in the Windows game editor, the company warned on Aug. 18.

Unity advised developers who use the Windows version of its editor to update immediately. Users of the Mac version of the editor are not affected, but the company released a new Mac version as well to keep the software synced between the two platforms.

“By proactively working with internal and external security researchers, a Remote Code Execution flaw in the Editor has been identified and we have rolled out a critical security patch to the global community,” Amanda Taggart, Unity’s head of global communications, said in a statement sent to eWEEK. “Security is paramount at Unity and is enabled by close collaboration with our security partners and customers to provide the most trustworthy software possible. Per our commitment to responsible disclosure, we’re unable to share more details at this time.”

While the vulnerability, in theory, only affects developers, attackers have targeted coders on many platforms in the past as a way to turn their legitimate programs into Trojan horses. Such attacks essentially turn developers into a vector to target their users.

Malicious actors, for example, have created advertising libraries and development frameworks that, when incorporated by a programmer into their software, undermines the security of the end user. In June, for example, security firm Trend Micro warned that a malicious advertising library, Xavier, had been incorporated into 800 apps for Android mobile devices, allowing it to steal user credentials and data. Similarly, in 2015, Chinese cyber-criminals offered up a hacked version of Apple’s Xcode development toolkit that inserted malware into programs as they were compiled.

In the latest case, Unity did not provide further details of the current issue and did not specify whether the vulnerability was being used in the wild. However, the company did provide more details as part of the mitigation tool provided to disable the vulnerable feature in Unity editors, suggesting that the vector of attack is the ability to open certain Unity asset files from a browser or email.

“This mitigation will remove the ability for you to open Asset Store assets from an internet browser or an email client,” the company said in a notice describing how to apply the mitigation tool. “To download these assets, you'll have to navigate to the store from within the Unity Editor.”

Attacking programs using malicious documents is an old, but often useful, technique. In April, Microsoft patched a flaw in Microsoft Word that allowed attackers to run code once the user opened a file in email or through a browser.

Unity participates in a bug bounty program, but the company did not say whether the issue had been discovered by a third-party researcher.

“Unity has adopted a Responsible Disclosure policy as a part of our co-operation with internal and external Security Researchers and Bug Bounty program,” the company said. “Unity may withhold information about an identified vulnerability for a reasonable period of time to ensure that all customers are given time to patch their systems.”

Robert Lemos

Robert Lemos

Robert Lemos is an award-winning freelance journalist who has covered information security, cybercrime and technology's impact on society for almost two decades. A former research engineer, he's...