Feeds

Yellow alert over Windows shortcut flaw

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

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft: We plan to CLEAN UP this here Windows Store town
Paid-for apps that provide free downloads? Really
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Hear ye, young cyber warriors of the realm: GCHQ wants you
Get involved, get a job and then never discuss work ever again
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
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.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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?