Feeds

Yellow alert over Windows shortcut flaw

'Wide-scale exploitation is only a matter of time'

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Windows Shortcut's zero-day attack code has gone public.

The development increases the risk that the attack vector, already used by the highly sophisticated Stuxnet Trojan to attack Scada control systems, will be applied against a wider range of vulnerable systems.

All versions of Windows are potentially vulnerable to the exploit.

Just viewing the contents of an infected USB stick is enough to get pwned, even on systems where Windows Autoplay is disabled. Maliciously-crafted Windows shortcut (.lnk) files might also to be able to push malicious code through other attack routes left open by the vulnerability, such as Windows shares.

The SANS Institute's Internet Storm Centre has responded to the heightened threat by moving onto yellow alert status for the first time in years. "We believe wide-scale exploitation is only a matter of time," writes ISC handler Lenny Zeltser.

"The proof-of-concept exploit is publicly available, and the issue is not easy to fix until Microsoft issues a patch. Furthermore, anti-virus tools' ability to detect generic versions of the exploit have not been very effective so far."

Microsoft has acknowledged the problem - and published workarounds designed to guard against attack - ahead of a possible patch. Going by previous form, and given the seriousness of the flaw and the amount of platforms affected, Microsoft's security gnomes will have their work cut out to release a fix as part of August's Patch Tuesday much less any sooner.

The Siemens SIMATIC WinCC SCADA systems specially targeted by the Stuxnet Trojan use hard-coded admin username / password combinations that users are told not to change. Details of these passwords has been available on underground hacker forums for at least two years, Wired reports.

Worse still, changing Siemens' hard-coded password will crash vulnerable SCADA systems, IDG reports. Siemens is in the process of developing guidelines for customers on how to mitigate against the risk of possible attack.

An overview of the vulnerability and its implications can be found in a blog posting by Rik Ferguson of Trend Micro here. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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?
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.
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.