Feeds

Severe Windows security hole patched

All versions, big trouble

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

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

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
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
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
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
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
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.