Feeds

Windows update offers defence against shell bug

Watch out, incoming

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Microsoft released a critical patch involving IE7 and an important patch to guard against DNS (Domain Name System) spoofing on Tuesday.

An expected update involving a flaw in the SafeDisc copy protection software from Macrovision that comes bundled with Windows XP and 2003 is missing in action. Users are advised to apply Macrovision's update.

The light sprinkling of just two patches marks a relatively quiet month on the Patch Tuesday update treadmill. The most significant of the two updates addresses a URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) handling bug in Windows that could allow hackers to inject malware onto targeted systems.

Although the root cause of the problem stems from a bug deep in the Windows Shell, exploits doing the rounds require the installation of IE7. This security bug in the Windows Shell is exposed by applications including Outlook, Firefox, Adobe, and Skype. Exploitation involves the usual trick of fooling users into visiting maliciously constructed websites.

Systems running Win XP and Windows 2003 are potentially vulnerable. Those running Vista and Win 2000 are not. Attacks against vulnerable systems have been going on for some time.

The Internet Storm Centre describes the bug as a "well known problem with exploits in the wild". Vulnerable clients needed to be quickly patched, it advises.

The second of November's patches - described by Microsoft as important - involves a bug in Windows that might be exploited to poison a DNS cache.

The vulnerability stems from the use of predictable transaction values by Windows when sending out queries to upstream DNS servers. This creates a spoofing risk. More specifically, the bug allows hackers to send specially crafted responses to DNS requests, thereby spoofing or redirecting internet traffic from legitimate locations.

It's a fairly elaborate trick and there's no evidence, as yet, that hackers have pulled off the approach. Nonetheless ,users are advised to update Windows servers sooner rather than later.

Microsoft's summary of the patches can be found here. The Internet Storm Centre's more readable summary can be found here. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.