Feeds

Windows recovery loophole lets hackers in

Who do want to own today?

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Windows Vista may be Microsoft's most secure operating system to date, but researchers are still finding some glaring loopholes for hackers to exploit. Here is the latest: all you need is a Vista Install DVD to get admin level access to a hard drive.

The loophole arises because the Command Prompt tool in Vista's System Recovery Options fails to request user name or passwords before handing over access to PCs running the operating system. The hack, discovered by security researcher Kimmo Rousku, only works locally. Physical access to a target PC is a must. Even so, the potential for mischief (such as deleting directories or copying files on targeted PCs) is enormous. Hackers don't even necessarily need to run a DVD. "It’s easy to create a bootable USB flash memory that works in a similar way," Rousku notes.

He discovered the problem during a training workshop on Vista back in February and reported it to Microsoft at the time. Since then, Microsofti has sat on the problem, according to Rousku, so he has gone public. The hack also works on machines running other versions of Vista, providing the PCs are not protected by full disc encryption.

A write-up by Rousku explains the issue in detail and suggests workarounds.

Anti-virus firm F-Secure notes that getting into PCs running Windows XP Home is also straightforward, at least in default set-ups, using a different trick. "The Administrator account password for XP Home is blank by default and is hidden in Normal Mode. But if you select F8 during boot for Safe Mode, you can access the Administrator account and have complete access to the computer," F-Secure notes. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft: We plan to CLEAN UP this here Windows Store town
Paid-for apps that provide free downloads? Really
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Hear ye, young cyber warriors of the realm: GCHQ wants you
Get involved, get a job and then never discuss work ever again
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
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.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.