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11/14/2014
03:30 PM
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Microsoft Fixes Critical SChannel & OLE Bugs, But No Patches For XP

No patches released for the now-unsupported XP even though the 19-year-old OLE bug is critical and "Winshock" bug in Windows' SSL/TLS installation could be worse than Heartbleed.

CORRECTED/UPDATED: FRIDAY, NOV. 14 -- Microsoft has patched a critical remote code execution vulnerability in SChannel, the security package that implements SSL/TLS in all supported versions of Windows server and client operating systems (MS14-066). Microsoft also patched a critical 19-year-old data manipulation vulnerability in Windows OLE that's been lurking in every version of Windows -- both server and client operating systems -- since Windows 95 (MS14-064). Windows has not released patches for the now unsupported Windows XP.

The critical bug in Windows SChannel is remotely executable and could be used to run malicious code on vulnerable systems by sending specially crafted packets to a Windows server. It has been rated a 10.0 on the CVSS scale (CVE-2014-6321). The vulnerability, called "Winshock" by some, is next on the list of bugs exposing SSL/TLS installations -- like OpenSSL's Heartbleed (for which Microsoft did release an XP patch after support officially ended) and the vulnerability in Apple Secure Transport released in the spring.

"Is WinShock as bad as ShellShock and Heartbleed?" asks Gavin Millard, EMEA technical director at Tenable Network Security. "At the moment, due to the lack of details and proof of concept code it's hard to say, but a remote code execution vulnerability affecting all versions of Windows server on a common component like SChannel is up there with the worst of them."

So far, no exploits of Winshock have been reported in the wild.

Bromium Labs security researcher Jared DeMott says there's still much to know about the severity of the flaw. "One of the interesting bits in this story is that Microsoft is not really saying exactly how bad this bug is for the client. The vulnerability bulletin provided calls out servers as the potential victims, but the SSL/TLS stack is used every time your browser connects to a secure website, which most are these days," DeMott said. "And it would be straightforward for an attacker with details of this vulnerability to host a malicious site that offers "security" via the bogus SSL/TLS packets. Could a malicious website exploit IE with this bug? Until someone reverse engineers the patch, we'll have to wait to hear about how bad it is."

Millard says that "no proof of concept code has surfaced yet, due to Microsoft thankfully being tightlipped on the exact details of the vulnerability." Nevertheless, "it won't be long until one does which could be disastrous for any admin that hasn't updated. It is of critical importance that all versions of Windows are updated due to the ability of attackers to execute code on the server remotely, allowing them to gain privileged access to the network and lead to further exploitation such as infect hosts with malware or rootkits and the exfiltration of sensitive data."

Joe Barrett, senior security consultant of Foreground Security says that Winshock "will most likely be the first true 'forever-day' vulnerability for Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows XP. As Microsoft has ceased all support and publicly stated they will no longer release security patches, enterprises who still have Windows 2000 and Windows XP machines will find themselves in the uncomfortable situation of having an exploitable-but-unpatchable system on their network," he says.

"Security researchers and blackhats alike are most likely racing to get the first workable exploit against this vulnerability, and the bad guys will begin immediately using it to compromise as much as they can," he says. "As a result, enterprises need to immediately deploy the patch to every system they can and also begin isolating and removing the unpatchable systems to prevent serious compromise of their networks.”

[More than a week after Microsoft fixed a flaw affecting almost all Windows versions, attackers are continuing to exploit it. Read Attacks On Patched Sandworm Flaw Force Microsoft To Issue Fix It.]

The Windows OLE vulnerability has been rated 9.3 on the CVSS scale (CVE-2014-6332). It was discovered and privately disclosed by researchers at IBM X-Force in May. As Robert Freeman, manager of IBM X-Force Research, explained in a blog post:

This complex vulnerability is a rare, "unicorn-like" bug found in code that [Internet Explorer] relies on but doesn't necessarily belong to. The bug can be used by an attacker for drive-by attacks to reliably run code remotely and take over the user's machine -- even sidestepping the Enhanced Protected Mode (EPM) sandbox in IE 11 as well as the highly regarded Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) anti-exploitation tool Microsoft offers for free.

Freeman acknowledges that exploitation is "tricky." He describes how the vulnerability, which originates in "some very old code within the OleAut32 library," can be exploited remotely via the Visual Basic Script present in all versions of Internet Explorer since IE 3.0.

This bug is significant, he says, because it shows that critical vulnerabilities can be overlooked for nearly 20 years. "It indicates that there may be other bugs still to be discovered that relate more to arbitrary data manipulation than more conventional vulnerabilities such as buffer overflows and use-after-free issues."

Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad ... View Full Bio

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BlackWingCat
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BlackWingCat,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/5/2014 | 1:23:53 AM
Re: XP
Therefore, I created MS14-064/066/067/068/070/072 patches for Windows 2000 myself in last month. :)

 It should be easy that created it from other version patches , because someone can create the malware from vulnerability within severaldays.

 
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
11/28/2014 | 6:43:53 PM
Re: XP

@DDURBIN1     I love the analogy !   I couldn't agree more.

ODA155
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ODA155,
User Rank: Ninja
11/20/2014 | 10:00:24 AM
Re: XP
Did they fix it for free?
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/20/2014 | 9:50:54 AM
Re: XP
If I owned a 2006 Ford Mustang (you could buy XP new in 2006)) and took it to a Ford dealer for repair do you think Ford would turn me away or do you think they would try and help a loyal customer out?  And if they refused to work on my 2006 (even though I'm willing to pay) then demand I buy a new Mustand from them do you think I would only look at Fords?
ODA155
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ODA155,
User Rank: Ninja
11/20/2014 | 9:39:46 AM
Re: XP
@DDURBIN1, is this an aurgument for information security or are you just nostalgic for XP, because this has nothing to do with the "survival" of any company, but rather companies, IT Departments and private customers unwilling to upgrade to a supported operating system, and you don't have to, it's not required, but do not expect a vendor to keep a product alive if they want to produce something newer. Read this article, if you're willing to pay for it you could probably get them to enclude you in this program to keep XP going... but then you can also keep using it unsupported and hope for the best, it's your choice. In your opinion, how long should MS carry XP, 5 more years, 10, 25? Let me ask you this, how old is your cell phone, do you upgrade every two years or less? I know people who complain about no support for Windows XP but everytime a new Android or iPhone is released they get one, why, I don't know, don't care but it just makes me laugh when I compare the two actions, they make no sense.

Speaking of Ford, have you ever driven an original 5.0 Mustang, a Torino or a Toyota Supra or what about the old big bodied Cadi's... they're all gone, for what their makers thought\hoped would be better products. Things change

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2139929/windows-xp-support-will-be-available-after-april-8-just-not-for-you.html

 
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/20/2014 | 9:19:32 AM
Re: XP
@ODA155, name ANY company that survives after rejecting 30% of its customers.  Can you image let say McDonald's, AT&T or FORD rejecting 30% of the customers that come in their stores?  This is what Microsoft is doing; turning their back on "loyal" customers.  It is not the best business practice.  This is a customer decision (for whatever the reasons might be) not a vendor one.  Showing no good will toward continued XP customers leaves a poor taste particularly when 90% of the code in Windows 7 is actually XP code.

 
ODA155
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ODA155,
User Rank: Ninja
11/19/2014 | 10:07:57 PM
Re: XP
@DDURBIN1,... I don't understand why people just can't move on to newer technology. MS made this decision a long time ago but kept putting it off because of customer outcry... should MS provide patches and support for all of its "unsupported" products...? How long should a warranty last last on a car that you bought in 1992, because you like it and want to keep it, should the automaker be forced to keep updating it because you like it,come on people, should MS support Windows 2000 or NT4.0?

You want to know why 30% of the worlds computers are still running on Windows XP... it's because somebody, for whatever the reason(s) were made a decision not to upgrade, not because of anything MS did because if that were the case that 30% would be lower since support ended on May 1st, and as an information security professional I have no sympathy for anyone or company still using it... even the company I work for.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
11/17/2014 | 1:44:12 PM
Re: The same code base?

@Marilyn Cohodas   Thanks for the link - I didn't know Mr. Nedella came from Sun ?     Seems as though everyone from the early days of Sun have done well afterward.   I do wish him good luck though, managing the likes of MS will be no easy task.

Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
11/17/2014 | 1:40:18 PM
Re: The same code base?

@Robert McDougal  -    Good point.   The computing world was much different then and I agree those methods of yore would not pass the mustard now. 

Robert McDougal
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Robert McDougal,
User Rank: Ninja
11/17/2014 | 1:17:46 PM
Re: The same code base?
@Technocrati   If I was in the shoes of Gates and Ballmer I would probably have decided to code on top of what was already there.  However, that was then, in the security environment of today I think I would have made a different decision.  Today, the cost of a security flaw to the business and the brand name is much more than it was even 5 years ago.  It probably makes more economical sense to re-code from the ground up now.
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