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. White House Intervention Harms Android and Every Software Developer on the Planet

    US Solicitor General Donald Verrilli urges the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to let APIs be covered by copyrights, rendering almost every program a potential copyright violation



  2. Microsoft Lobbying in India Shoots Down or At Least Weakens Free/Libre Software Policy

    Microsoft's covert efforts (lobbying with the help of public partners like NASSCOM) to eliminate an India-leaning software policy in India is finally paying off



  3. Propaganda Mode for UPC Agreement Whilst EPO Increasingly Grants Patents on Software

    In order to make the Unitary Patent a reality (towards a 'no place to hide' patent approach) misleading claims are being made



  4. Patents Are Not Source Code

    Ford is once again misleading regarding Open Source, mischievously associating a patent pledge with Open Source



  5. Links 29/5/2015: ALT Linux 7.0.5, Google I/O 2015

    Links for the day



  6. Links 28/5/2015: SourceForge Hijack, RIP Marco Pesenti Gritti

    Links for the day



  7. Censorship on Reddit Has Gotten (Condé) Nasty and Silent, Even Actively Silenced

    Condé Nast has turned Reddit into a platform of censorship after the acquisition



  8. The Supreme Court of the United States Helps Patent Trolls

    In an unforeseen kind of ruling, the same court which slapped down a lot of software patents last year is now legitimising the actions of a patent troll



  9. Patent Lawyers Fight Hard for the Future of Software Patents

    Media that is dominated by patent lawyers and targets an audience of patent lawyers refuses to accept the post-Alice reality



  10. Fortune Glorifies Patent Troll Jay Walker (Patent Utility)

    Jay Walker, a patent troll, creates a Web-based trolling/'licensing' service and the corporate media helps him



  11. Stealing Android's Thunder, Making It All About Apple and Microsoft During Google I/O

    Misleading articles and conjoined media/analyst attacks on Android coincide with Google's event where major Android announcements are being made



  12. British Government May be a Step Closer to GNU/Linux (on the Desktops, Not Just Servers)

    The British government stops paying the criminal company that blackmails its members, thereby increasing the possibility of complete escape from proprietary software



  13. Microsoft's Patent Allies LG and Sony Agree to Put Microsoft Inside Android

    LG and Sony (of Rockstar Consortium) follow Samsung and Dell in Microsoft's campaign to turn Android into 'Microsoft Android' using patents-induced pressure/leverage



  14. Yet Another Major Security Deficiency in UEFI

    UEFI is inherently insecure, more so than the alternatives which it strives to replace, including Free/libre ones



  15. Links 27/5/2015: Fedora 22 is Out, Mandriva Liquidated

    Links for the day



  16. Patent Scope at the EPO is Totally Out of Control, UPC Will Make Things Worse

    A look at the practical issues with the EPO, where patent scope and litigation scope have been vastly extended so as to benefit multinational corporations and possibly patent trolls



  17. Links 26/5/2015: Reviews of Kubuntu 15.04, Linux 4.1 RC5

    Links for the day



  18. Süddeutsche Zeitung Says Talking Helps While EPO Management Back-stabs Other Side of the Table

    German media gives the impression that there is peace and harmony now that Benoît Battistelli and his circle of power speaks to staff, but nothing is said about simultaneous (albeit covert) attacks against that staff



  19. Large Corporations Call the Shots in US Patent Reform

    A reminder of where we stand on the issue of patent 'reform' in the US and who is controlling or shaping it



  20. Microsoft Puts Proprietary Windows and Hyper-V Inside the Free Software-Centric OpenStack

    OpenStack, which celebrates rapid growth in this month's event in Canada, is facing a proprietarisation threat from Microsoft



  21. Microsoft's Secret Lobbying, Bullying, and the Long History of Blackmailing Politicians Around the World

    British media covers Microsoft's abuse in the UK, but there are many similar incidents, and not just in the UK



  22. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Benoît Battistelli and Four EPO Suicides

    German press article from April 2015 (with translations)



  23. Links 24/5/2015: CrossOver 14.1.3, NTFS-3G Vulnerability

    Links for the day



  24. Links 23/5/2015: Fedora 22 to May 26th, Netflix in SteamOS

    Links for the day



  25. The Patents Production 'Industry' (Patent Lawyers) Still Fights Hard to Salvage Software Patents

    A review of recent writings about software patents and patents on business methods in the United States, demonstrating that patent lawyers have gotten very vocal and sneaky (trying to evade the rules)



  26. Patents as a Marketing Strategy: USPTO Now Part of the Advertising Industry

    The existence of publicity patents, or patents whose sole purpose is to advertise some products, serves to discredit the US patent office, which was originally set up to promote science and technology



  27. Microsoft Blackmails and Extorts British Politicians Over Open Standards and Free Software-Leaning Policies

    Microsoft's digital imperialism in the UK getting defended using blackmail, reminding a lot of Brits that Microsoft is just as evil as ever before



  28. Microsoft Gives Another Bug a Name, This Time Logjam™

    The Microsoft crowd is good only at marketing, even when it comes to small bugs in software



  29. Links 22/5/2015: Fedora 22 Final Release is Near, Canonical IPO Considered

    Links for the day



  30. More Utter Shame Unveiled at Battistelli's EPO: Intimidation Tactics With Help From 'Control Risks'

    The unaccountable thugs who run the EPO have hired London-based spooks to help silence their opposition and their critics


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