Feeds

Think unpatched Win XP hole's not a big deal? Hope you trust your local users

Vulnerability used to breathe life into Adobe Reader exploit, Microsoft warns

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

An unpatched vulnerability in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 creates a means for hackers to gain admin rights on vulnerable Windows XP machines, Microsoft warned on Wednesday.

The zero-day local privilege escalation vulnerability is not suitable for remote code execution but might allow a standard user account to execute code in the kernel. As such, the bug is not that much use on its own, but potentially troublesome when mixed in a cocktail with other software vulnerabilities in order to formulate workable attacks.

Unfortunately this has already happened and the vulnerability has already been used in anger in conjunction with an Adobe Reader exploit to target a recently patched vulnerability in the widely used PDF reader software, anti-malware firm FireEye warns. Simply put, the Windows bug allows hackers to bypass Adobe's sandbox defences but only on older versions of Reader.

The combined exploit targets Adobe Reader 9.5.4, 10.1.6, 11.0.02 and prior on Windows XP SP3. XP users who are running the latest versions of Adobe Reader are immune from the attack, so upgrading to the latest version of Abode Reader is probably the best way of blocking potential attacks. Windows Server 2003 is also vulnerable to same privilege escalation vulnerability but are not anywhere near as at risk of attack (unless a BOFH opens a email containing rigged PDFs from a vulnerable server, or other unlikely scenarios), hence the focus on the millions upon millions of vulnerable Win XP systems.

Microsoft plays down the seriousness of the vulnerability while admitting it has been abused in "limited, targeted attacks".

The Adobe flaw was patched in August, according to cloud security firm Qualys.

"Users that have the latest version of Adobe Reader are immune to the attack, as well as users that are running on Windows Vista or later," Wolfgang Kandek, CTO a Qualys, explains in a blog post. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
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.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
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.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.