Disable Gadgets NOW says Redmond
Remote execution vuln
Microsoft has advised Vista and Windows 7 users to put Gadgets and the Windows Sidebar to the sword, following the revelation of yet-to-be-detailed remote code execution vulnerabilities in the features.
Redmond issued this advisory ahead of an upcoming Black Hat presentation by Mickey Shkatov and Toby Kohlenberg. The two have promised to reveal “interesting attack vectors” in a presentation called “We Have You By The Gadgets”.
Microsoft hasn’t provided any further information about the vulnerability, other than to say that users could install insecure Gadgets that enable remote code execution.
“Gadgets installed from untrusted sources can harm your computer and can access your computer’s files, show you objectionable content, or change their behavior at any time,” Microsoft notes.
Since Gadgets run with the rights of the current user, the vulnerability could allow exploits all the way up to administrative level.
The Microsoft fix disables the Windows Sidebar and Gadgets on all supported Vista and Windows 7 editions.
The unloved Sidebar feature for Gadgets was killed off in Windows 8, as was the Windows Live Gallery used to access Gadgets from the desktop. ®
New fangled Microsoft strategy...
"Remove our software, it's so buggy we don't know how to fix it."
I don't think they ran this idea by the PR department...
...install a program from an untrusted source (which in this case just happens to be a gadget) and it will have access to resources on your computer, with your access rights.
This is new how?
My spin goes up to 11
The MS "Gadget Gallery" page goes beyond coyly suggesting that gadgets from "untrusted sources" are problematic. They've vaped all of the official ones too - but it's ok, it's because...
Because we want to focus on the exciting possibilities of the newest version of Windows, the Windows website no longer hosts the gadget gallery.
So either they're blythely lying about the threat perimeter or they're so desperate for Win8 migration that they've killed a (admittedly crappy, but that doesn't distinguish it much from Metro) feature of the current commercial release.