Feeds

Vista kernel fix 'worse than useless'

MS irks security researcher (part 411)

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

Microsoft has modified Windows Vista to prevent a high-profile exploit demonstrated at security conferences this summer but the fix creates as many problems as it solves, according to the security researcher who identified the original problem.

The bug, demonstrated by Joanna Rutkowska of security firm Coseinc, created a possible mechanism for hackers to bypass security protection built into 64-bit versions of Vista in order to inject potentially hostile code into the kernel of prototype versions of Windows. This so-called "pagefile attack" defeated a feature called Vista kernel protection.

Windows Vista Release Candidate 2 frustrates this attack by blocking write-access to raw disk sectors for user mode applications, even if they are executed with elevated administrative rights. Rutkowska writes that Microsoft's fix is fraught with difficulties because it prevents legitimate applications, such as disk editors and recovery tools, from functioning without their own signed kernel-level driver. Hackers might be able to hijack such legitimate drivers so all Microsoft has done has created extra work for developers in displacing - but not resolving - the problem.

During a presentation at the Black Hat conference in August, Rutkowska explained two other approaches Microsoft might take in defeating the page-file attack as well as highlighting the problems with simply blocking write-access to raw disk sectors for user mode applications. "Microsoft actually decided to ignore those suggestions and implemented the easiest solution, ignoring the fact that it really doesn’t solve the problem," she writes. ®

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
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.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.