Feeds

XP audio vuln shout goes out

A word in your Shell-like

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

XP users were warned last week of a critical buffer overflow flaw in Windows Shell that can be used to run arbitrary code on victims' PCs.

The vulnerability, discovered by application security firm Foundstone, involves a fault in a Windows Shell function used to extract custom attribute information from audio files. Windows Shell provides the framework of the Windows GUI and runs the Windows Desktop, among other functions.

By this time you're probably thinking the flaw is invoked when victims run a maliciously constructed audio file in Media Player. Actually the flaw is more subtle than this, as Microsoft explains.

"An attacker could seek to exploit this vulnerability by creating an .MP3 or .WMA file that contained a corrupt custom attribute and then host it on a website, on a network share, or send it via an HTML email. If a user were to hover his or her mouse pointer over the icon for the file (either on a web page or on the local disk), or open the shared folder where the file was stored, the vulnerable code would be invoked," it warns.

The upshot is you're no better off simply previewing an infected HTML email (if you haven't applied the infamous Outlook email security update than you would be attempting to play a dodgy media file.

The end result is the same: crash (Windows Shell fails), bang (buffer overflow) and owned (attackers malicious code executes on some poor sap's XP box).

Given the ease of exploitation (despite Microsoft's customary - and this time rather thin - mitigating factors spiel) and the number of users potentially affects, Redmond sensibly deems the vulnerability as critical.

XP users are advised to apply the patch immediately, by following the links from Microsoft's advisory here.

On a related note, Foundstone last week published details of buffer overflow flaws in Nullsoft's Winamp media playing software. Separate buffer overflow vulnerabilities affect Winamp 2.81 and Winamp 3.0 but lead to the same potential problem - remote code execution. Nullsoft has released patches which users are strongly advised to apply. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
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.
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.