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Microsoft accused of leaking RDP attack code

Epic security fail

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The newly-found attack code that exploits critical flaws in Microsoft's RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) system appears to have been leaked by Microsoft or one of its partners, says the researcher who originally discovered it.

Luigi Auriemma, an Italian security researcher who originally reported the flaw to Microsoft, has examined the attack code and says parts of it are the same as the sample that he sent in for analysis, and contains code that he wrote to show the proof of concept. He said additional information he has received makes it likely the code was leaked from the Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP).

"If the author of the leak is a Microsoft employee... bad for him," he writes. "If the author of the leak is one of the MAPP partners... it's the epic fail of the whole system, what do you expect if you give the proof of concept to your 'super trusted' partners?"

The MAPP system was set up by Microsoft to share information with trusted partners in the software industry, primarily in the security field. It's one of a number of initiatives that Microsoft is making to try to improve its threat posture to attacks, but it appears that leaky partners may have had the opposite effect.

"Microsoft is actively investigating the disclosure of shared MAPP vulnerability details and will take the necessary actions to protect customers," Yunsun Wee, director of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Group told El Reg in an emailed statement. "Given that a proof-of-concept code is publically available, we recommend customers apply the security update as soon as possible to be protected."

In a blog post, Wee confirmed that the attack code found in the wild does appear to be the same as that submitted by Auriemma, and said that Microsoft was taking steps to "ensure that confidential information we share is protected pursuant to our contracts," – or to put it another way, server logs are now being pored through to find the culprit. ®

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