Computer Crime Research Center


New XP flaws, Microsoft

Date: July 19, 2005
Source: Computer Crime Research Center
By: CCRC staff

A newly discovered and as-of-yet unpatched security vulnerability in Windows XP could let an attacker remotely crash computers.

The flaw affects the Windows Remote Desktop Service, which lets users access their Windows PC from a remote location. An attacker could remotely exploit the problem to crash a victim's PC, according to a posting on the Security Protocols Web site earlier this week. The user would then see the Windows Blue Screen of Death.

Microsoft knows of the security flaw and is working on a patch, a company representative said on Friday.

"The issue was originally privately reported to Microsoft and we are working on an update that will be released when it is of the appropriate quality," the representative said. "The concern is that this has now gone public, potentially putting customers at risk."

According to the Security Protocols Web site, Microsoft was informed of the problem on May 4 and plans to release a patch as part of its August update cycle. Fully patched Windows XP machines--including those with the Service Pack 2 update and the firewall enabled--are vulnerable, according to Security Protocols.

Internet Explorer (IE) and Windows patches appear to be the most significant, as the flaws they address could both be used by an attacker to take control of a user's system via a maliciously encoded Web page, said Neel Mehta, team leader of X-Force research with security vendor Internet Security Systems (ISS). The IE bug is significant because security experts have already shown a way that it could be exploited by an attacker, he said.

Last week, Microsoft issued a work-around to this problem, which concerns a file used by IE called Javaprxy.dll. However, Tuesday's patch fixes the underlying problem, Metha said.

ISS is also concerned about the Windows vulnerability, which relates to a feature called the Microsoft Color Management Module. This software is used to ensure that colors look the same when they are being rendered on different types of hardware, and is employed by a number of widely used applications, including Microsoft Outlook and IE, Metha said.

"Our initial analysis shows it being pretty conducive to exploitation," Metha said. "Any application that uses the built-in Windows facilities to show JPEG images, or possibly some other images, could be an attack vector for this vulnerability."

In fact, Microsoft has already privately been made aware of exploits of this flaw, Toulouse said.

The Word vulnerability, which could allow an attacker to gain control of a user's system when a maliciously encoded Word document is opened, does not affect the most recent version of the word processor. However, users of Word 2000, 2002 will need to install the patch, Toulouse said.

The three patches are detailed in Microsoft Security Bulletins MS05-35, MS05-36 and MS05-37. A new version of a previously released bulletin, entitled MS05-33 was also released Tuesday after Microsoft discovered that the Windows bug that it addresses also affects the company's Services for Unix 2.0 and 2.1. products, Toulouse said.

All three of the patches will probably require a reboot in order to take effect, Toulouse said. "If the files are in use when the update is applied, and in these cases they're pretty much going to be, that is what forces a reboot," he said.

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2005-08-19 02:50:02 - I really, really want to go to the toilet. John Walters
2005-07-19 11:31:51 - not suprised reader
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