Feeds

Windows update offers defence against shell bug

Watch out, incoming

Reducing security risks from open source software

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. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Microsoft: You NEED bad passwords and should re-use them a lot
Dirty QWERTY a perfect P@ssword1 for garbage websites
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
Crooks fling banking Trojan at Japanese smut site fans
Wait - they're doing online banking with an unpatched Windows PC?
NIST told to grow a pair and kick NSA to the curb
Lrn2crypto, oversight panel tells US govt's algorithm bods
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
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.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.