Feeds

Microsoft won't fix new Windows security flaw

Gone fishin'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Microsoft says it won't be issuing a patch for a newly discovered security vulnerability in Windows that PGP's COVERT lab classifies as 'high-risk'.

The COVERT Lab issued an advisory earlier this week detailing how a local Windows networking configuration can be corrupted by redirecting the user to an arbitrary IP address of the hacker's choosing. In itself, say researchers, the vulnerability isn't destructive. For malicious crackers it's more likely to be a means to an end. But the simplicity and stealth
with which the attack can be carried out means that it merits a high risk rating, says PGP.

"All it takes is a single UDP packet sent to whoever is on the Windows network - it's unsolicited," a PGP researcher told The Register. "That person never needs to ask a question to receive an invalid response and for their cache to be corrupted, and for that machine to be the under the control of the attacker."

As an example of potential abuse, PGP's advisory cites a case where a rogue SMB (Windows' file and print network protocol) machine could be used to capture names and passwords from other users on the LAN, or over the Internet.

The problem lies in the vulnerability of a Windows' clients' NetBIOS cache. The cache contains mapping information that matches computer shares - in the Network Neighborhood or My Network Place folders - to IP addresses. Both static and dynamic entries can be modified, says the advisory.

"There's not a lot a user can do to minimize their risk," said Jim Magdych, security research manager at the lab. "Unless network administrators start blocking the traffic internally then you're still susceptible to
an attack from inside your LAN."

Home users who have a Windows-based home network attached to the Internet, and individual users who've left NetBIOS bound the IP stack in Windows, are also vulnerable. COVERT Labs advises users to unbind NetBIOS from the stack, or turn the protocol off if they're using Windows 2000.

"We've had a lot of discussion with Microsoft about it," said Magdych. "They said it would take up too much effort and be too disruptive to the Microsoft NetBIOS implementation to implement any sort of patch to correct this problem." ®

Related Stories

MS failed to spot Hotmail hack threat
cDc bores two thousand people at once
Hacking hysteria invigorates insurance industry
Freed hacker Mitnick excoriates NY Timesjourno

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.