Feeds

Severe Windows security hole patched

All versions, big trouble

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Every version of Windows with the exception of ME (and including the "Trustworthy Computing" engineered Windows Server 2003) has a nasty stuff-up in the RPC (remote procedure call) process, which yields complete system ownership to a third party.

RPC allows a program running on one computer to execute code on a remote system. This can be quite useful, particularly for networked machines sharing a printer over a LAN, say. In the case of Windows, the RPC service listens on port 135 for instruction.

In this case a buffer overflow can cause the preocess to panic in such a way as to transfer ownership of the machine. The actual culprit is a DCOM (Distributed Component Object Model) interface with RPC. In any case, RPC should never be showing itself to the Internet so firewalls for Windows systems should always be set to block port 135. Note that RPC cannot be safely disabled on Windows as it can on *nix. However there are patches now so all is well.

In keeping with its desperate PR inclination to pull "mitigating factors" out of its ass, Microsoft notes that "to exploit this vulnerability, the attacker would require the ability to send a specially crafted request to port 135 on the remote machine" -- i.e., he needs a computer.

"For Internet connected machines, port 135 would normally be blocked by a firewall" -- because everyone's got one and knows how to configure it.

RPC has been buggy since the day it was born on UNIX and ought to be disabled on any non-Windows machine that doesn't need it. On *nix it's usually available on port 111 (sunrpc), but this is not chisled in stone. If portmapping is active it may find another outlet via UDP ports higher than 32770. You can set your firewall to block TCP/UDP port 111 or, even better, disable the portmapper altogether if you don't need it. It is necessary for NFS (Network File System) and NIS (Network Information Service); otherwise its just a hole. ®

Related Link MS advisory and links to patches

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.