Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Monday, January 09, 2006

Don't Panic

After a long holiday week of bug fixing in Redmond it appears the WMF Exploit is just the tip of the iceberg.
The security flaw exposed by the Zero-Day WMF Exploit is a brand new type of code vulnerability.

In the past year, Microsoft has been on a security crusade to clean up any code which could be used by hackers to remotely execute malware. Unfortunately, the focus has been on buffer overflow, string formatting, SQL Injections and other traditional coding flaws.  There are however many file types besides WMF which provide locations for code execution and nobody has bother to consider this a possible threat.

My friends in Redmond now tell me a race has begun.  Microsoft has re-created a team whose goal is to find any other potential security flaws of this type before the hackers do.

Reports of additional flaws in the WMF file type have been widely reported. At this time, there is no need to panic as the use of these flaws are purely conceptual. Worse case scenario is viewing a doctored file could make your browser or other file application crash. There is no indication that code could be executed on the machine accessing a manipulated WMF file.  Many sites are referring to this as a denial of service attack which I think is a misleading description.  Some might think it generates a DoS attack when the only one denied is the person who views the image.

Meanwhile, I recommend taking normal precautions, get your Windows security updates and keep your eye out for new security bulletins.
The answer is 42.

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