Risk
7/18/2010
03:02 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
50%
50%

Microsoft Warns Of Critical Vulnerability

Microsoft Friday warned its customers that attackers are targeting an unpatched and critical Windows vulnerability.

Microsoft Friday warned its customers that attackers are targeting an unpatched and critical Windows vulnerability.Microsoft Security Advisory (2286198) addresses a previously known vulnerability that makes it possible to exploit removable drives. Microsoft claims it has so far seen only limited, targeted attacks:

The vulnerability exists because Windows incorrectly parses shortcuts in such a way that malicious code may be executed when the user clicks the displayed icon of a specially crafted shortcut. This vulnerability is most likely to be exploited through removable drives. For systems that have AutoPlay disabled, customers would need to manually browse to the root folder of the removable disk in order for the vulnerability to be exploited. For Windows 7 systems, AutoPlay functionality for removable disks is automatically disabled.

Anti-virus vendor Sophos warns that this vulnerability makes it possible for attackers to exploit all versions of Windows, including Windows 7:

The flaw is in how shell32.dll tries to load control panel icons from applets. By making a specially crafted shortcut pointing to a malicious file, you can make Windows Explorer blindly execute the malicious file when the location of the shortcut is merely browsed to. In this case the malicious file is a rootkit and a dropper that immediately hide the special shortcut (.lnk) files. Allowing executable code to load in the process of trying to retrieve an icon seems like a major oversight in the design of Windows.

Below is an interesting video produced by Sophos that demonstrates the attack underway.

Currently, Microsoft's advice is to disable icons for shortcuts. While a savvy home user may be able to pull that off - it's unlikely to be practical in a business environment. Most users will think their PC is "broken" and wonder why files won't launch. They also suggest disabling the WebDav WebClient. That's another less-than-ideal solution if your enterprise uses SharePoint.

That means, unfortunately, your best bet may be to make certain that your anti-malware software protects against the current batch of exploits. And wait for the inevitable patch, which hopefully comes on or before August's Patch Tuesday.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-8142
Published: 2014-12-20
Use-after-free vulnerability in the process_nested_data function in ext/standard/var_unserializer.re in PHP before 5.4.36, 5.5.x before 5.5.20, and 5.6.x before 5.6.4 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted unserialize call that leverages improper handling of duplicate keys w...

CVE-2013-4440
Published: 2014-12-19
Password Generator (aka Pwgen) before 2.07 generates weak non-tty passwords, which makes it easier for context-dependent attackers to guess the password via a brute-force attack.

CVE-2013-4442
Published: 2014-12-19
Password Generator (aka Pwgen) before 2.07 uses weak pseudo generated numbers when /dev/urandom is unavailable, which makes it easier for context-dependent attackers to guess the numbers.

CVE-2013-7401
Published: 2014-12-19
The parse_request function in request.c in c-icap 0.2.x allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) via a URI without a " " or "?" character in an ICAP request, as demonstrated by use of the OPTIONS method.

CVE-2014-2026
Published: 2014-12-19
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the search functionality in United Planet Intrexx Professional before 5.2 Online Update 0905 and 6.x before 6.0 Online Update 10 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the request parameter.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join us Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to hear what employers are really looking for in a chief information security officer -- it may not be what you think.