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. The Federal Circuit Continues Squashing Software Patents

    Under the leadership of Sharon Prost the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) continues its war on software patents, making it very hard to remember the last time it tolerated any



  2. SUEPO Representatives Like Elizabeth Hardon Vindicated as Battistelli's Detrimental Effect on Patent Quality is Widely Confirmed

    Feedback regarding the awful refusal to acknowledge patent quality crisis at the EPO as well as the appointment of a President so close to Battistelli (who most likely assures continuation of his policies)



  3. Links 17/10/2017: KDE Frameworks 5.39.0, Safe Browsing in Epiphany

    Links for the day



  4. Judge Bryson Rules Against Allergan After It Used Native American Tribes to Dodge Scrutiny of Patents (IPRs); Senator Hatch Does Not Understand IPRs

    Having attempted to dodge inter partes reviews (IPRs) by latching onto sovereign immunity, Allergan loses a key case and Senator Hatch is meanwhile attempting to water down IPRs albeit at the same time bemoaning patent trolls (which IPRs help neutralise)



  5. Rumours That António Campinos Initially Had No Competition at All (for Battistelli's Succession) Are Confirmed

    Succession at the EPO (mostly French) shows that there's little room for optimism and Battistelli's people are too deeply entrenched in the upper echelons of the EPO



  6. EPO Stakeholders Complain That the New Chairman Does Not Grasp the Issues at the EPO (or Denies These)

    Some information from inside the EPO’s Administrative Council, whose Chairman is denying (at least to himself) some of the core issues that render the EPO less competitive in the international market



  7. Another Misleading Article Regarding Patents From Rana Foroohar at the Financial Times

    In an effort to promote the agenda of patent maximalists, many of whom are connected to the Financial Times, another deceiving report comes out



  8. Monika Ermert's Reports About the Crisis at the EPO and IP Kat's Uncharacteristically Shallow Coverage

    News from inside the Council shows conflict regarding the quality of European Patents (granted by the EPO under pressure from top-level management)



  9. Patent Troll VirnetX a Reminder to Apple That Software Patents Are a Threat to Apple Too

    VirnetX, a notorious patent troll, is poised to receive a huge sum of money from Apple and Qualcomm is trying to ban Apple products, serving to remind Apple of the detrimental impact of patents on Apple itself



  10. Links 16/10/2017: Linux 4.14 RC5, Debian 9.2.1, End of LibreOffice Conference 2017

    Links for the day



  11. The Systematic Erosion of Workers' Rights and Holidays at the EPO Goes Years Back

    The legitimacy of the staff's concerns at the EPO, having seen basic labour safeguards being shredded to pieces by Battistelli for a number of years (predating even the escalation of the conflict)



  12. Articles in English and German Speak About the Decline in Quality of European Patents (Granted by the EPO)

    Heise and The Register, two sites that have closely watched EPO affairs for a number of years, speak about the real problem which is declining patent quality (or rushed examination) -- a recipe for frivolous litigation in Europe



  13. Software Patents and Patent Trolls Not a Solved Issue, But the US is Getting There

    A media survey regarding software patents, which are being rejected in the US in spite of all the spin from law firms and bullies such as IBM



  14. US Patent Trolls Are Leaving and the Eastern District of Texas Sees Patent Cases Falling by More Than Half

    The decline of patent aggression in the US and the patent microcosm's response to Justices, having ruled in TC Heartland, curtailing patent trolls



  15. Qualcomm's Nightmares Are Getting Worse as Antitrust Questions Are Raised and Assessed

    Qualcomm is getting itself deeper in trouble as fines pile up and its multi-billion dollar dispute with Apple isn't getting it anywhere



  16. Forget About Apple; Two of the Leading Phone Makers (Samsung and Huawei) Are Bickering Over Patents

    Massive Android OEMs, Huawei and Samsung, are in a big patent dispute and this time, for a change, China is a legal battleground



  17. Tim Heberden From the Glasshouse Advisory is Throwing Stones in a Glasshouse to Create Patent Litigation

    IAM's latest lobbying, aided by the patent microcosm, for a climate of feuds and disputes (to line the pockets of the litigation 'industry')



  18. Access to Medicine is More Important Than Patents

    Some of the latest news about patents that impede/deny access to crucial medication; strategic litigation from the generics sector, seeking to invalidate patents and then offer low-cost alternatives



  19. Links 14/10/2017: Windows Breaks Dutch Law, Wine 2.19 Released

    Links for the day



  20. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Supported by Congress, a Federal Judge, Soon to be Supported by the Supreme Court Too?

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board is still widely defended, except by the patent microcosm which likes (and profits from) patent trolls and litigation Armageddon



  21. Patents Are Turning BlackBerry and Nokia, Which Used Android, Into Anti-Android Fronts That Tax Android OEMs

    The Canadian BlackBerry has sued BLU in the US only to compel it to pay 'protection' money; Nokia's patents are being scattered to trolls, which are doing something similar (without risking litigation themselves)



  22. The Unified Patent Court (UPC) is Rotting Like the European Patent Office

    The Unitary Patent litigation pipe dreams (or prosecution/trolling fast lane), which Battistelli's EPO long relied on, turn out to be the road to nowhere



  23. Lying and Faking Now a Standard Procedure at the European Patent Office

    The European Patent Organisation (EPO) under the leadership (or chairmanship) of Christoph Ernst continues to relay lies from Battistelli's Office, SUEPO rejects these, the Office lies about SMEs, prioritises Microsoft (again), and probably buys fake Twitter "followers"



  24. Links 13/10/2017: X.Org Server 1.19.5, pfSense 2.4, Final Stages of Ubuntu 17.10

    Links for the day



  25. Truly Terrible 'Journalism' About António Campinos Boils Down to Lobbying and Agenda-Pushing

    The expectedly shallow coverage of the appointment (succession) of Battistelli's French pick, which will likely change nothing of significance at the European Patent Office (EPO)



  26. Under Christoph Ernst, the Council is Just a Megaphone of Battistelli's EPO, Including on Patent Quality

    The Administrative Council of the EPO does not appear to be interested in a serious, adult, scientific debate about the quality of European Patents (EPs) and is instead relaying lies from Benoît Battistelli



  27. Links 12/10/2017: Cutelyst 1.9.0, Qt Creator 4.5 Beta

    Links for the day



  28. The Hogwash Begins: Patent Microcosm's Media Pretends Campinos is Anything But Battistelli's French Succession Plan

    A survey of media coverage regarding António Campinos, the French person whom Benoît Battistelli selected as his successor at the EPO



  29. Patent Quality at the EPO (European Patents) is Slipping While Battistelli's Office Boasts “Expansion of Early Certainty” (Even Worse)

    The EPO is staring down the abyss as high-level EPO management, quite frankly as usual, looks for new ways to further exacerbate patent quality (for superficial gains in the number of granted patents) rather than improve it



  30. Former Microsoft Employee Explains Why Microsoft 'Embrace' of GNU/Linux and Free/Libre Open Source Software is Like W3C Entryism

    Microsoft's latest moves are "EEE" that "concern" him, according to this new video


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