Feeds

Microsoft confirms code execution bug in Windows

0days R Us

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Microsoft has confirmed reports that several versions of Windows are vulnerable to exploits that allow remote attackers to take full control of users' computers using booby-trapped emails and websites.

In an advisory issued Tuesday, Microsoft said it was investigating “new public reports” of vulnerability in the XP, Server 2003, Vista, and Server 2008 versions of Windows. In fact, the first known report of the bug in the way those operating systems process thumbnail images came on December 15 at a security conference in South Korea. On Tuesday, exploit code was added to the Metasploit software framework for hackers.

“This is a remote code execution vulnerability,” the Microsoft advisory stated. “An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system.”

The flaw resides in the Windows Graphics Rendering Engine and can be exploited when victims view a specially manipulated thumbnails on network-shared folders or drives or in online WebDAV-shared folders. It can also be targeted when email users open or preview Microsoft Word or PowerPoint files that contain the doctored images.

There are no known reports of attacks in the wild that exploit the vulnerability, and Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 aren't susceptible.

“The vulnerability is exploited by setting the number of color indexes in the color table to a negative number,” Johannes Ullrich, chief research officer at the Sans Institute, blogged. Slides from the December 15 conference provide hints that the exploits can bypass security measures such as data execution prevention and safe exception handling, he added.

In a blog post, Microsoft Senior Marketing Communications Manager for Trustworthy Computing, Angela Gunn, said Microsoft was working on a patch, but that for the time being “the circumstances around the issue do not currently meet the criteria for an out-of-band release.” Microsoft's next patch release is scheduled for January 11, but it's highly unlikely a bug fix will be ready by then.

Workarounds include configuring Windows Access Control List to be more restrictive, which will interfere with the way the Graphics Rendering Engine displays media files.

The bug is at least the third unpatched vulnerability in a piece of Microsoft software. Two weeks ago, the company warned of a vulnerability in Internet Explorer that creates a means for hackers to inject malware onto vulnerable systems. On New Year's Day, security researcher Michal Zalewski disclosed a separate bug in the Microsoft browser that he believes also allows attackers to hijack user PCs. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS
Agency forgets it exists to protect communications, not just spy on them
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.