Feeds

Exploit code targets unpatched Windows flaw

Persistence of memory

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Hackers have developed proof-of-concept code that attempts to take advantage of an unpatched Windows vulnerability to crash systems, Microsoft warned yesterday. Fortunately the risk of attack is low.

The experimental code shows it's possible to knock over machines running Windows XP SP1 and Windows 2000 SP4 in certain configurations by taking advantage of flaws in Windows memory allocation functions. This vulnerability manifests itself when a malformed request is made to the UPnP service in the data section of a call to the GetDeviceList function. In handling this request, memory consumption on vulnerable Windows boxes increase to the point where the system becomes unresponsive. Repeated requests can therefore be used to mount denial of service attacks.

Attacks on Windows XP SP1 would rely on having user authentication, reducing the scope for mischief by remote hackers. Microsoft users running Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 are not affected by the vulnerability. Win 2000 shops are most at risk but providing systems are properly firewalled then attacks should fail.

Irresponsible disclosure?

Normally the arrival of proof-of-concept illustrates weaknesses that might subsequently by used by hackers for more malign purposes. In this case, however, the attack approach is not especially successful in slowing down systems to a crawl much less as a means to infect vulnerable machines with hostile code. This is a denial of service only risk and the real interest (except to people interested in revisiting the long-running debate about the responsible disclosure of security bugs) is that it is based on an unpatched vulnerability.

Winny Thomas of Nevis Labs in India, the security researcher who developed the proof-of-concept code, readily concedes the Windows RPC memory allocation remote denial of service exploit he highlights is only a moderate risk. Microsoft is yet to develop a security fix. It criticises Thomas of publicising details of the flaw through FrSIRT, a full disclosure web site, instead of submitting it to Microsoft directly first. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Home Depot ignored staff warnings of security fail laundry list
'Just use cash', former security staffer warns friends
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
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
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
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.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
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.