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Home » Hacking News » Zero day Windows flaw

Zero day Windows flaw

by Nikola Strahija on December 29th, 2005 Security firms have warned that even patched systems running Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 can be successfully attacked by malicious hackers, thanks to the zero day exploit. Malicious hackers can run the code of their choice on compromised systems, and even machines that have all available patches installed are vulnerable, according to several advisories.

All it takes for the attacks to be successfully carried out is a newly discovered vulnerability in those operating systems' handling of corrupted .WMF (Windows Metafile) graphic files. This exploit has been described as "zero day," because malicious hackers are taking advantage of it while there is no patch or certified workaround against the vulnerability.

Currently, security firms are warning that machines can be attacked if users open a malicious .WMF file in Windows Picture and Fax Viewer or preview a malicious .WMF file in Windows Explorer.

However, the number of attacks could increase dramatically if malicious hackers find more automated ways to target systems, such as using e-mail, instant messages or file sharing, according to Ken Dunham, director of the rapid response team at VeriSign's iDefense.

There is no patch for the security hole. While some workarounds are being suggested on the Web, Dunham is only validating this one for disabling .WMF file handling: First, users should click on the Start button on the taskbar. Then they should click on Run, type "regsvr32 /u shimgvw.dll" and click "Ok" when the change dialog appears.

However, Dunham warns that recent vulnerabilities related to .WMF have also included .EMF files and that -it is possible that exploitation might still be possible through alternative file types such as EMF', he wrote in an e-mail alert. -For now, the WMF disabling workaround may help mitigate attacks against vulnerable Windows XP/2003 computers. This workaround may impact the display of thumbnails or other images on the computer.'

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