EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

11.30.08

Eye on Microsoft: Another Messy Week for Security

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 5:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The state of the botnet is a reality that can’t be immediately escaped unless there is a large-scale disconnection of Windows-running PCs. However, rather than making steps in the right direction, the situation appears to be worsening.

This post is a quick roundup (due to time constraints) of the past week’s developments, with special emphasis on complete comprise that brings the world SPAM, DDOS attacks, espionage, ransom, and wasted productivity.

Rise of the Zombies

Halloween is far behind, but the zombies are back.

Most of Srizbi’s new command and control servers were located in Estonia and all of its domains were registered in Russia. For about 13 hours, some 100,000 or so infected machines had the ability to connect to those servers, though it’s not clear exactly how many of them did so, since many of them were likely not powered on, Lanstein said.

IDG covered this too.

The zombie computers used to send spam are coming back to life.

Security vendors say spammers are reconnecting with hacked PCs used for sending spam as evidenced by a rising number of spam messages circulating on the Internet the last few days. Spam levels suddenly dropped two weeks ago after the shutdown of McColo, a rogue ISP (Internet Service Provider) based in San Jose, California, whose connectivity was used to control networks of hundreds of thousands of computers to send spam, known as botnets.

According to the following report, these botnets can easily increase their size by recruiting more nodes.

A new analysis of botnets has come up with a possible reason for their prodigious ability to infect PCs — many anti-virus programs are near to useless in blocking the binaries used to spread them.

SPAM on the Rise Again

A recent statistic suggested that over 150 billion SPAM messages are sent per day. Biblical proportions by all means! Some of this can be intercepted at server level, but it increases load on the servers (and thus everyone’s connection fees), not to mention the severe issue of false positives (especially affecting businesses that rely on E-mail).

With increase in botnet activity comes increase in SPAM that threatens small businesses.

The fight against spam rages on after a spike in spam levels following the shut-down of hosting service McColo. SMBs are particularly vulnerable to malware and spam; ensuring secure, spam-free email should be a prominent security interest.

This was also covered by the BBC.

Spam on rise after brief reprieve

Some 450,000 infected computers have been spotted trying to connect to the largest of the networks McColo hosted.

Worms Warming Up

More worm problems emerge:

1. Vulnerable Windows Machines Sitting Ducks for the Conficker Worm

First Microsoft, and now McAfee is warning Windows users to expedite the process of applying a patch for a Critical vulnerability in Server Service affecting both client and server versions of the operating system.

According to the Redmond company, all supported platforms are vulnerable, including Windows 2000, Windows XP (even SP3), Windows Vista RTM/SP1, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7. McAfee has indicated that users not deploying the patch are vulnerable, while Microsoft has already informed that it had detected active attacks and infections in the wild, following a period when exploits were just targeted.

2. Windows worm infection accelerates

Microsoft is currently observing an increase in the spread of a new Windows worm that exploits the known vulnerability in the RPC functions of the Server service to penetrate systems. The infection rate of Conficker.A worm is reported to be accelerating over company networks in particular. The Microsoft Malware Protection Center says most reports are coming from the USA, but customers in Europe, Asia and South America too are affected, and reports have also been received from several hundred home users.

3. Microsoft Warns of Worm Attack on Windows

Security researchers at Microsoft Corp. last week warned of a significant climb in exploits of a Windows bug it patched with an emergency fix last month, confirming earlier reports by Symantec Corp.

Microsoft again urged users to apply the MS08-067 patch if they have not already done so.

4. Microsoft Warns Of Attack Exploiting Windows Vulnerability

Specifically, the worm deletes any use-created System Restore points, and attempts to contact numerous sites, including those of Google, Yahoo, MSN and ask.com, to obtain the current date, according to researchers at the SANS Institute. The worm then uses the date information to generate a list of domain names, which it then contacts in an attempt to download additional malicious files onto a user’s affected computer.

5. Microsoft warns of new Windows attacks

The new attacks, which Microsoft’s Malware Protection Center said began over the weekend but spiked during the past two days, use the same worm that Symantec first spotted last Friday.

6. Microsoft: Worm Exploiting Networked Computers via HTTP

Microsoft informed in its most recent security bulletin that a worm dubbed Win32/Conficker.gen!A is messing around with computers across a network by exploiting a vulnerability in the Windows Server service, allowing remote code execution to take place while file sharing is enabled.

How did computing fall into this mess? Well, the following article magically vanished (we did try to find it again, to no avail), but its headline was (is) “Microsoft Not Rushing To Fix Vista Kernel Vulnerability.” The disappearance of this article might be innocent, but it still raises a brow.

We covered this last week. Even when severe flaws are found, Microsoft will leave them unpatched unless or until there is an attack exploiting them, i.e. when it’s too late. It is not only vain but it’s also irresponsible. It also enables Microsoft to ‘massage’ and lie about security using meaningless figures [1, 2, 3].

Once infected, nothing on a machine can be trusted, as proven by this new report.

A DANGEROUS new variant of malware is attacking PCs in the UK, the INQ has discovered. It hijacks the victim’s browser and directs them to a fake site masquerading as AVG’s own front page.

Needless to say, without radical change, things are bound to get worse before they get better. It’s time for consideration of secure platforms.

Fire alarm

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

2 Comments

  1. oiaohm said,

    November 30, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Gravatar

    Problem is a lot deeper. Look at MS so call security systems.

    If the core security system of the OS does not work all it takes is a exploit to see the complete OS fail.

    Reports have been in for years that the DAC on windows needs work. Even the new MIC from Microsoft is not up to scratch.

  2. advocatus said,

    December 1, 2008 at 2:28 am

    Gravatar

    Missing article’s still in Google cache:
    http://74.125.77.132/search?q=cache:U-koBaBSiNAJ:blogs.pcmag.com/securitywatch/2008/11/microsoft_not_rushing_to_fix_v.php+http://blogs.pcmag.com/securitywatch/2008/11/microsoft_not_rushing_to_fix_v.php&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1

    ‘Monday November 24, 2008
    Microsoft Not Rushing To Fix Vista Kernel Vulnerability
    Categories:

    Software Patches, Vulnerabilities, Windows Vista
    Tags:

    TCP/IP, vista, vulnerabilities, windows xp

    A vulnerability in the Windows Vista Kernel hasn’t generated much panic from either researchers or Microsoft several days after its public release.

    The vulnerability occurs in adding a route entry to the IPv4 routing table through the CreateIpForwardEntry2 API. It can be exploited through the route command line tool, which is included with Vista. The disclosure claims there are no workarounds. According to this article, Microsoft says that they will fix the bug in the next Vista service pack.

    The vulnerability requires that the user be a member of either the Administrator group or the Network Configuration Operators group, and this explains the lack of concern. In Windows XP this would not be much of a barrier for a vulnerability, as so many users run as Administrators, but in Vista this is much less common.

    To exploit the vulnerability, the attacker would have to convince the user to execute a malicious program on the PC. This might be as simple as a batch file which ran the route command, or a specially-crafted executable. The vulnerability is a stack overflow in the TCP/IP code, and a successful exploit would give the attacker full control over the PC,

    But since the exploit is a buffer overflow, it also has to get past the Vista barriers of DEP and ASLR. As I have discussed recently, these are formidable barriers to invoking an exploit on Vista. The lack of interest in what would be a top-tier vulnerability in XP is yet another sign of how far Vista has gone to block such exploits.’

What Else is New


  1. Links 2/9/2015: Chromebooks and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 Beta

    Links for the day



  2. Software Patent From Troll Called 'Rothschild Connected Devices Innovations' a Symptom of a Rotten Patent System

    Another example of patent trolls and software patents as gatekeepers and parasites, denying access to very trivial ideas or implementations



  3. When Even Patent Lawyers' Blogs Acknowledge the Rapid Demise of Software Patents

    Voices for patents are accepting the new order wherein software patents are hardly potent at all (and increasingly difficult to acquire)



  4. Calling Proprietary Software, Software Patents, Lock-in (Like OOXML) and DRM 'Open'

    What Microsoft et al. call 'Next-Generation Open Media Formats' are basically neither open nor acceptable (it's DRM) and what Microsoft apologists dub 'Open Source Tools' are just another example of a Microsoft Office openwashing Trojan horse



  5. Recycled Old News About Vista 10, Stressing That Not Only '10' is Spyware But All of Windows is

    How Microsoft propagandists are spinning Microsoft's gross and potentially illegal privacy violations as a reason to 'upgrade' to Vista 10



  6. Links 1/9/2015: Manjaro Linux 0.8.13, Netrunner 14.2 LTS

    Links for the day



  7. Patents Roundup: IAM's Claims About India, Lawyers' Patent Bias, ITC for Microsoft, and PTAB Against Kyle Bass

    Another weekly summary, focusing on issues that pertain to or affect Free software in particular



  8. Microsoft Crowd Rocks the Media With Misleading Claims and Deliberate Lies About GNU/Linux, Vista 10, and Free/Open Source Software

    A roundup of rigged press coverage, intended purely to serve Microsoft's agenda



  9. Links 31/8/2015: Linux 4.2, LXLE 14.04.3

    Links for the day



  10. IRC Proceedings: August 9th, 2015 – August 29th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  11. “Conservative” Site Responds (Yet Again) to Misguided “Conservative” Efforts to Derail Patent Reform in the US

    Patent trolls throw stones in glass houses, contributing to their own unpopularity, but some influential “Conservatives” continue to defend (conserve) them



  12. Increase in Lobbying for Software Patents in Europe and Its Trojan Horse, the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The relentless campaigns to bring software patents into Europe have not stopped and so-called 'unification' -- much like so-called 'trade' deals -- serves to support them



  13. Microsoft Technology Crashes Financial Markets, Again

    SunGard, which is a Microsoft shop, is clearly failing to provide what it calls mission-ciriticaal [sic] solutions



  14. Alice v. CLS Bank (Alice/§101) Comes to Squash Software Patents Even in Eastern District of Texas

    The crackdown on software patents is coming along nicely and the Alice case is now being utilised even in the capital of patent trolls



  15. Apple's Patent Cases Against Android Are Falling Apart, as Acknowledged Even by the Anti-Android Lobby





  16. Links 29/8/2015: NetworkManager 1.0.6, Systemd Merges “su” Command Replacement

    Links for the day



  17. Microsoft Loves Linux to Death and Still Tries to Kill GNU/Linux

    Microsoft's relentless attacks on GNU/Linux and Free software in general (even if it runs on Windows) are so evident that claims of 'love' remain laughable at best (if not infuriating)



  18. Censorship, Self-Censorship and Intimidation Now the Modus Operandi at EPO

    The European Patent Office has ceased even trying to pretend that it respects human rights, including the right to free speech



  19. Patent Practitioners: "The Unitary Patent Might be Able to Open the Floodgates for Software Patents in Europe"

    The EPO-backed Unitary Patent scheme threatens to bring software patents to Europe and along with them a lot of patent trolls from all around the world (especially the United States)



  20. Microsoft Lies About Vista 10 and Increases Microsoft Surveillance (Even Beyond Vista 10 and Into Android, Vista 7/8)

    Windows surveillance expands retroactively, making its way into platforms other than Windows and also expanding to predecessors of Vista 10



  21. Another Suicide at the EPO, Fifth by Our Count

    Yet another EPO member of staff has just committed suicide, leading to the inevitable question: how many people need to die before Battistelli and his minions are out of the Office for good?



  22. Links 27/8/2015: ownCloud Desktop Client 2.0, Red Hat Downgraded

    Links for the day



  23. Microsoft-connected Mesosphere Threatens to Eliminate Free Software in the Datacentre

    Hiding behind a misleading 'open' label while actually backed by Microsoft (and based on new rumours may join Microsoft), Mesosphere wishes to eradicate Free and back doors-free software in large datacentres hosting a lot of physical and virtual servers



  24. Microsoft Aggression Against GNU/Linux Amid Vista 10's Failure

    A look at the recent assault on GNU/Linux in Munich and the likely cause for this assault (in such a timely fashion, too)



  25. Message to LinuxCon Regarding Microsoft: “It is Necessary to Get Behind Someone in Order to Stab Them in the Back.” -Sir Humphrey Appleby

    Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, helps Microsoft gain influence in the Foundation after payments are received



  26. Market Share Estimates Confirm That Vista 10 Failed in a Major Way

    Confirmatory evidence that Vista 10 is failing in the market about a month after its much-hyped (paid coverage) release



  27. When Microsoft, the Master of Patent Trolls, Complains About Trolls

    Possibly the world's biggest patent abuser and monopolist, which also creates many patent trolls (including by far the biggest one), takes on a far smaller abuser in Court



  28. Letter Signed by Two German Officials Becomes a Microsoft Weapon of Propaganda

    Microsoft and its minions refuse to leave Munich alone, even though the vast majority in Munich are perfectly happy with Free/libre software



  29. Links 25/8/2015: Linux Kernel 4.2 Final RC, KDE Ships Plasma 5.4.0

    Links for the day



  30. Sabine Pfeiler and Otto Seidl Should Take Note as Russia -- Like China -- is in the Process of Banning Microsoft Windows for Security Reasons

    A look at a strange suggestion, signed by Sabine Pfeiler and Otto Seidl, who suggest going back to Microsoft which is basically a spyware company now


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts