Another Windows Bug Open To Zotob-Like Attacks - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Software // Enterprise Applications
News
8/30/2005
03:18 PM
50%
50%

Another Windows Bug Open To Zotob-Like Attacks

Another Windows vulnerability disclosed earlier in August is ripe for exploit, security firm Symantec says.

Another Windows vulnerability disclosed earlier in August is ripe for exploit, security firm Symantec said Tuesday.

After additional analysis of the Microsoft Print Spooler Service vulnerability, which Microsoft first described August 9 in a bulletin released that day, Symantec alerted customers of its DeepSight Threat Management System to patch the flaw immediately or risk attack.

"We always take the conservative viewpoint in our alerts," said Alfred Huger, the senior director of engineering for Symantec's security response team. "But when we release an alert, we're urging people to patch as soon as possible."

In fact, said Huger, although an exploit has not been seen in the wild, one will. "There's always someone who's smart enough to figure things out, and the law of averages say that an exploit will appear."

In fact, exploits have already been published privately among hacker groups, and are in the hands of customers of vulnerability tools like Immunity's Canvas. Symantec said it wasn't sure whether Immunity's exploit was only proof-of-concept code or what it called a "robust exploit" that could actually attack systems remotely.

Microsoft's original bulletin, marked as MS05-043, rated the bug as "critical," the Redmond, Wash.-based developer's highest alert warning for vulnerabilities. On Windows 2000 PCs, as well as Windows XP and Windows XP SP1, the win32.spl.dll can be exploited remotely via the RPC interface -- the same service used by the dangerous and damaging MSBlast two years ago this month -- and attacked anonymously, in other words, by anyone, even those without a legitimate log-in account.

Windows XP SP2 and Windows Server 2003 are not anonymously exploitable, both Microsoft and Symantec agreed, because of that version's more stringent checks in the RPC interface.

Symantec uncovered other new information lacking in Microsoft's original bulletin, specifically that Windows XP and XP SP1 are vulnerable through the guest account that is enabled by default in some configurations. (A week ago, Symantec discovered the possible exploit of Windows XP and XP SP1 by Zotob-like bots, and Microsoft responded with a new security advisory offering recommendations on how to stymie such attacks.)

If all this sounds familiar, it should. The most vulnerable systems, Windows 2000, and the guest account vulnerabilities of Windows XP and XP SP1 are characteristics shared with the Plug and Play vulnerability that resulted in the widespread Zotob bot worm attacks earlier in August.

"There are things in common between the two," said Huger, "although the way to get at [the vulnerabilities] is different."

"After analyzing the vulnerability in detail it is believed that this vulnerability could also become an attack vector used by a worm against the Windows 2000 and Windows XP SP1 and below systems," Symantec's alert read in part.

Huger confirmed the seriousness of the threat. "This could be dropped into bots, just like Zotob," he said. "Or placed in Metasploit, which is the de facto break-in tool from Unix platforms."

"Absolutely, users should patch this vulnerability immediately," Huger warned, because once a working exploit is available, bot worms in the Zotob style are inevitable.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Commentary
Study Proposes 5 Primary Traits of Innovation Leaders
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  11/8/2019
Slideshows
Top-Paying U.S. Cities for Data Scientists and Data Analysts
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  11/5/2019
Slideshows
10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  11/1/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Getting Started With Emerging Technologies
Looking to help your enterprise IT team ease the stress of putting new/emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning and IoT to work for their organizations? There are a few ways to get off on the right foot. In this report we share some expert advice on how to approach some of these seemingly daunting tech challenges.
Slideshows
Flash Poll