Feeds

Win 7 RC fails to thwart well-known hacker risk

Malware extension renaming ruse stays undead

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

An almost-ready version of Windows 7 retains a feature from Windows NT which expedites a well-known hacker trick, according to net security experts.

Win 7 RC omits a fix for a long-standing security shortcoming in Windows Explorer. As with previous versions of Windows, dating all the way back to windows NT, the version of Windows Explorer in Win 7 hides the extensions of known file types.

This is a potential problem, because virus writers abuse this feature in attempts to disguise executables as document files. For example, if VIRUS.EXE is renamed as VIRUS.TXT.EXE or VIRUS.JPG.EXE, then Windows hides the .EXE part of the filename. VXers also routinely change the icon inside the executable to resemble the icon of a text file or an image, further disguising a trap that has caught the unwary time and time again.

Net security firm F-secure reports that Win 7 RC allows this trickery to continue. A blog posting by F-secure on the problem, complete with screenshots, can be found here.

It is possible that Microsoft will thwart this particular social engineering trick, once the full version of the software becomes available in late October, or thereabouts. Redmond has already disabled the Autoplay functionality in Win 7 by default, thwarting a technology that meant malware-infected USB sticks and the like infected machines they were subsequently plugged into with minimal user involvement. The functionality was notoriously exploited by the prolific Conficker superworm, to cite just one example.

Demand for downloads of Win 7 RC has been high since its release on Tuesday. Surfers looking to get the software from alternative sources are advised to tread carefully, following reports that links to some supposed unofficial download sites actually point to websites harbouring exploit code and malware. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.