Microsoft Patches Windows Shell Vulnerability - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Software // Operating Systems
News
8/3/2010
10:36 AM
50%
50%
RELATED EVENTS
Free Yourself from Legacy Apps
Jun 08, 2017
They've served their purpose years ago, but now they're stretching your IT budget and increasing s ...Read More>>

Microsoft Patches Windows Shell Vulnerability

With the out-of-band release, Microsoft also disclosed Office documents at risk from the "no user input required" shortcut icon attack.

Image Gallery: Windows 7 Revealed
(click image for larger view)
Image Gallery: Windows 7 Revealed
Microsoft on Monday released an emergency patch against the Windows shortcut link (.LNK), aka Windows Shell, vulnerability.

All "supported" editions of Windows got a patch, "including Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2," according to Christopher Budd, senior security response communications manager at Microsoft. He recommends companies deploy the update "as soon as possible, to help protect their computers from criminal attacks seeking to exploit the .LNK vulnerability."

In the related vulnerability announcement, Microsoft also divulged a new vector for related attacks. For the first time, it noted that "an attacker could embed an exploit in a document that supports embedded shortcuts or a hosted browser control (such as but not limited to Microsoft Office documents)."

Previously, the attack was only publicly known to work if a malicious file displayed in a Microsoft Explorer or file manager window, which would allow an attacker to remotely execute code, even if AutoRun and AutoPlay are disabled.

"This really expands the potential reach of the LNK vulnerability," wrote Sean Sullivan, a security researcher at F-Secure, on his firm's blog. "Depending on the ease to which documents can be utilized, we will now almost certainly see targeted attack attachments via e-mail messages."

The severity of the existing attacks exploiting the vulnerability was underlined by Microsoft choosing to issue the patch yesterday, rather than waiting eight more days for its typical Patch Tuesday -- the second Tuesday of the month -- patch release cycle. Indeed, multiple attacks now in circulation now target the vulnerability, including the rapidly spreading Sality family of viruses.

On the positive side, as part of Microsoft's Active Protections Program (MAPP), the company provided more detailed technical details about the attack, enabling antivirus vendors to make their signatures "more generic and effective than previously," according to Sullivan, which should help block attacks that use shortcuts embedded in Microsoft Office documents. "Kudos to Microsoft," he said.

More information on the vulnerability is available in the related Microsoft Security Advisory.

Comment  | 
Email This  | 
Print  | 
RSS
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of Data and Analytics
Today's companies are differentiating themselves using data analytics, but the journey requires adjustments to people, processes, technology, and culture. 
Back Issues | Must Reads
Video
All Videos
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
FULL SCHEDULE | ARCHIVED SHOWS
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Full schedule | Archived Shows
Flash Poll