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12.29.08

Windows Vista Left Vulnerable Over Christmas

Posted in Microsoft, Samsung, Security, Vista, Windows at 7:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Broken glass

AS WE POINTED OUT on Christmas day, Microsoft left its users/clients vulnerable over the holidays. But there’s actually more than we mentioned at the time. One of our readers points out that new flaws were found — accompanied by exploits — that can hijack Windows Vista and predecessors (Vista was never secure anyway).

The following exploit utilizes the XML vulnerability in Internet Explorer to execute arbitrary code under Vista.

Here is another new one:

A vulnerability was reported in Windows Media Player. A remote user can cause arbitrary code to be executed on the target user’s system.

Over at The Register, it is being reported that Samsung picture frames are dangerous to Windows users (“The disc is needed to use the kit as a USB monitor on windows XP machines”). We’ve covered the follies of Samsung in the past because they stabbed Linux in the back by signing a patent deal with Microsoft.

The BBC labels 2008 an unprecedentedly bad year for security, but surely it won’t get any better in 2009, not when about 40% of all (Windows) machines are zombies and many people are out of work.

Criminal gangs generate so many viruses for two main reasons. Firstly, many variants of essentially the same malicious program can cause problems for anti-virus software which can only reliably defend against threats it is aware of.

Bearing in mind everything that people already know and witness, the BBC does write: “The vast majority of these malicious programs are aimed at Windows PCs. Viruses made their debut more than 20 years ago but the vast majority of that million plus total have been created in the last two-three years.” It later shows the Windows logo above a caption that says “Most attacks are aimed at PCs running the Windows operating system.”

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3 Comments

  1. Thomas Holbrook II said,

    December 30, 2008 at 5:18 am

    Gravatar

    This doesn’t surprise me in the least. It reminds me of the whole metafile fiasco in which users of Windows were left out in the cold for an entire year. Then Steve Gibson digs a bit deeper and discovers that it was not a bug, but yes… an actual feature. It was one of those things that probably sounded like a good idea at the time (though I personally can’t figure out for the life of me why pictures should be executing binary code in the first place), then was neglected for quite some time.

  2. aeshna23 said,

    December 30, 2008 at 9:01 am

    Gravatar

    I noticed that the vulnerabilities involved using Microsoft products on Vista. Now, I’m sure if one must use Vista or XP, you should Firefox and not IE for security. Should one also use foobar2000 or dbpowerAmp instead of Windows Media Player? I have my suspicions that MS own programs tend to be security risks on Windows platforms than do third party applications–not simply because the hackers hack them more, but by corporate policy of giving these programs greater privileges than ordinary (and sensible) programmers would. Does anyone know if this is the case?

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 30, 2008 at 9:31 am

    Gravatar

    “I have decided that we should not publish these extensions. We should wait until we have a way to do a high level of integration that will be harder for the likes of Notes, Wordperfect to achieve, and which will give Office a real advantage.”

    Bill Gates [PDF]

    Enough said.

    Think about ActiveX too. It’s about binding the Web browser and Web sites to one operating system.

    “Another suggestion In this mail was that we can’t make our own unilateral extensions to HTML I was going to say this was wrong and correct this also.”

    Bill Gates [PDF]

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