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<nettime> Here comes the next MSBlaster
Bruce Sterling on Thu, 11 Sep 2003 16:30:20 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Here comes the next MSBlaster

*Normally I wouldn't trouble nettime with boring, everyday
comp-security alerts, but that Blaster worm was created
so quickly that I estimate you have about 28 days tops
before every unpatched Windows-user you know gets
whacked by an exploit of this thing.

*Here are your choices, Windows users:

1.  Do nothing; get repeatedly infected and trampled by a planetfull
of increasingly well-organized virus-phreak malcontents
2.  Give Bill Gates the free, unilateral run of your system
by installing "Windows Auto Update"
3.  Spend all your own free time patching, ie sticking fingers into the dike
and dodging the crossfire.

4.  Get Linux or a Mac.

*This is a quagmire.  It's gonna get a lot worse before it
gets better, if it ever gets better at all -- bruces

From: Dave Farber <dave {AT} farber.net>
Date: Wed Sep 10, 2003  04:05:24 PM US/Central
To: ip {AT} v2.listbox.com
Subject: [IP] *Another* critical Windows flaw
Reply-To: dave {AT} farber.net


Microsoft warns of new Windows flaw
Software maker says security flaw is similar to one that hackers exploited 
to create Blaster worm.
September 10, 2003: 4:01 PM EDT

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. warned computer users Wednesday 
about a new critical security hole in its Windows operating system that 
could allow an attacker to gain control over a computer, delete data and 
install unwanted programs.

The vulnerability is similar to one that Microsoft warned about in July, 
which experts called one of the worst to hit a software program in years 
because of the broad number of Windows systems affected.

Within a month, the Blaster Internet worm surfaced, taking advantage of 
that security hole in Windows. The worm eventually infected an estimated 
hundreds of thousands of machines.

Hackers apparently have not yet targeted the newly announced vulnerability,
  said Jeff Jones, senior director of Trustworthy Computing security at 
Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft.

But with any critical flaw, "we have a worry that history has shown us 
there are malicious individuals out there that could create an attack of 
some sort against it," he said.

Blaster, also dubbed MSBlast and LovSan, crashed many of the computers it 
infected and tried to launch an unsuccessful attack on a Microsoft software 
download Web site.

The operating systems affected by the latest security vulnerabilities are 
Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Older 
versions of Windows, including Windows Millennium, Windows 98 and Windows 
95, are not affected, the company said.

Both the software flaw targeted by the Blaster worm and the new security 
hole are related to the Distributed Component Object Model service that is 
hosted by a Remote Procedure Call feature in Windows. Those features allow 
software applications to work with each other across a computer network.
Instant replay

"It's pretty much like instant replay," said Marc Maiffret, chief hacking 
officer at eEye Digital Security, which discovered the latest critical flaw.
  "I can't even imagine the frustration level administrators will be feeling 
today," he said.

There are critical Windows flaws occasionally, but "never before have we 
had another one so soon," he said, adding that he thinks there is a good 
chance there will be another worm that will exploit the new flaw.

Since early last year, Microsoft has made software security a top priority 
in an attempt to address rising customer concerns about the spread of 
viruses and hacker attacks.

Last week Microsoft warned of an important flaw in its Office software that 
could enable a malicious programmer to create documents that would launch 
attacks on unsuspecting users.

There have been about 40 warnings from Microsoft of security flaws, rated 
either critical, important, moderate and low, since the beginning of this 
year, according to data posted at the Microsoft security bulletin Web site.

Last year, there were a total of 72 bulletins issued, Jones said.

Jones advised Windows users to get information and download a patch that 
fixes the critical vulnerabilities, as well as other less-serious ones the 
company discovered. The patch is available from <http://www.microsoft.com/

Microsoft is also urging customers to install a firewall to block out 
intruders and enable the Windows auto update feature, which allows security 
and other software to be updated and installed automatically. The Web site 
for that is <http://www.microsoft.com/protect>www.microsoft.com/protect.

Microsoft credited outside researchers for finding the new critical and 
non-critical vulnerabilities. Besides eEye Digital Security, it named 
NSFOcus Security Team, and Xue Yong Zhi and Renaud Deraison from Tenable 
Network Security as contributors.  <http://cnnmoney.printthis.clickability.

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