Antivirus provider TrendMicro has released an emergency product update that fixes critical defects that allow attackers to execute malicious code and to view contents of a password manager built in to the malware protection program. The release came after a Google security researcher publicly castigated a TrendMicro official for the threat.

Details of the flaws became public last week after Tavis Ormandy, a researcher with Google’s Project Zero vulnerability research team, published a scathing critique disclosing the shortcomings. While the code execution vulnerabilities were contained in the password manager included with the antivirus package, they could be maliciously exploited even if end users never make use of the password feature. Those who did use it were also susceptible to hacks that allowed attackers to view hashed passwords and the plaintext Internet domains they belonged to.

“I don’t even know what to say—how could you enable this thing *by default* on all your customer machines without getting an audit from a competent security consultant?” Ormandy wrote in an exchange with a TrendMicro official. “You need to come up with a plan for fixing this right now. Frankly, it also looks like you’re exposing all the stored passwords to the internet, but let’s worry about that screw up after you get the remote code execution under control.”

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Google security researcher excoriates TrendMicro for critical AV defects