Feeds

Microsoft confirms code-execution bug in Windows apps

'Cannot directly be addressed in Windows'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Microsoft on Monday warned of a vulnerability in Windows applications made by third-party developers that allows remote attackers to execute malicious code on end-user PCs.

The company's security team is still investigating whether any Microsoft programs are susceptible to the so-called binary planting or DLL preloading attacks. Until patches are available, it said admins should run a new software tool that changes the way Windows loads application library files or disable several networking features to blunt attempts to exploit the flaw.

“Loading dynamic libraries is basic behavior for Windows and other operating systems, and the design of some applications require the ability to load libraries from the current working directory,” members of the Microsoft Security Response Center wrote here. “Hence, this issue cannot directly be addressed in Windows without breaking expected functionality. Instead, it requires developers to ensure they code secure library loads.”

The advisory confirmed previous reports that the attacks exploit a weakness in the way programs load associated libraries. The corresponding binary files can be located in a variety of directories, including those on networks controlled by a malicious hacker.

The attack works because many applications ignore best security practices and search for the library based only on the file name, rather than the full directory path, the advisory said. When the current working directory is set to one controlled by the attacker, it's possible to cause load a malicious file.

The advisory didn't say how many applications are vulnerable. In an interview last week, Mitja Kolsek, CEO of application security firm Acros Security, said his company has identified about 200 Windows susceptible programs and warned there could be more.

H D Moore, CSO and chief architect of the Metasploit project, has said at least one component of Windows is also vulnerable.

Microsoft's advisory repeated Moore's previous guidance that admins disable WebDAV and block outgoing SMB connections on ports 445 and 139. Redmond has also released a software tool that changes the way Windows searches for DLL files. Different versions of Windows requires a specific versions of the tools. Download locations are here. Microsoft has additional details here and here.

Moore has also published this post with a wealth of information. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Mozilla, EFF, Cisco back free-as-in-FREE-BEER SSL cert authority
Let’s Encrypt to give HTTPS-everywhere a boost in 2015
Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age
Kiwis to seek random investors for crowd-funded randomiser
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
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.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.