Feeds

Win 7 RC fails to thwart well-known hacker risk

Malware extension renaming ruse stays undead

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.