Feeds

Crackers latch onto year-old Windows token vuln

Unpatched bug features in multi-stage attacks

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Hackers have created exploits against a long-standing, unpatched Windows "token kidnapping" vulnerability.

The appearance of attacks follows a year after security researchers Cesar Cerrudo informed Microsoft of the problem in March 2008. Microsoft acknowledged the potential issue in April and published workarounds in an advisory. A more comprehensive fix is yet to appear.

The privilege escalation flaw exposed by the vulnerability is subtle and not easily exploitable, so Microsoft can arguably be forgiven for treating the security bug as less than critical and not rushing out a fix. That rationale becomes redundant, however, once a flaw gets used in attacking real systems, as in this case.

Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, and Server 2003 and 2008 systems are all potentially vulnerable.

Cerrudo followed up his initial March advisory with the publication of proof of concept code in October, a move that would normally stir the software giant into producing a patch, though not in this case.

More recently hackers begun taking advantage of the vulnerability in attempts to pry open vulnerable systems. The flaw has cropped up in blended (multi-stage) attacks, the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Centre reports. ISC handler Bojan Zdrnja describes the case as an incident where web application security, Microsoft, and the anti-virus vendors have all played a stinker.

Other security watchers are more inclined to blame Redmond.

"This is yet another example of a black-eye that Microsoft could have avoided. To repeat, the company had notice about this issue one year ago and despite evidence of proof-of-concept code, there is no patch for affected Windows users," writes security blogger Ryan Naraine, who doubles up as a security evangelist at Kaspersky Lab. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
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.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.