Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows
Microsoft has published a bulletin describing three
vulnerabilities that affect numerous versions of Microsoft Windows. Two of these
vulnerabilities are remotely exploitable buffer overflows that may allow an
attacker to execute arbitrary code with system privileges. The third vulnerability
may allow a remote attacker to cause a DoS.
The Microsoft RPCSS Service is responsible for managing
Remote Procedure Call (RPC) messages. There are two buffer overflow vulnerabilities
in the RPCSS service, which is enabled by default on many versions of Microsoft
Windows. These buffer overflows occur in sections of code that handle DCOM activation
messages sent to the RPCSS service. Microsoft has also published information
regarding a DoS vulnerability in the RPCSS service.
Microsoft Windows NT Work-station 4.0/NT Server 4.0/Terminal
Server Edition / Windows 2000 / Windows XP/Windows Server 2003.
By exploiting either of the buffer overflow vulnerabilities,
remote attackers may be able to execute arbitrary code with Local System privileges.
By exploiting the DoS vulnerability remote attackers may be able to disrupt
the RPCSS service. This may result in general system instability and require
Apply a patch from Microsoft
Microsoft has published Microsoft Security Bulletin
MS03-039 to address this vulnerability. More information is available at
Block traffic to and from common Microsoft RPC ports
As an interim measure, users can reduce the chance
of successful exploitation by blocking traffic to and from well-known Microsoft
RPC ports, including Port 135 (tcp/udp) /137 (udp)/138 (udp)/139 (tcp)/445 (tcp/udp)/593
To prevent compromised hosts from contacting other
vulnerable hosts, system administrators should filter the ports listed above
for both incoming and outgoing traffic.
Disable COM Internet Services and RPC over HTTP
COM Internet Services (CIS) is an optional component
that allows RPC messages to be tunneled over HTTP ports 80 and 443. As an interim
measure, sites that use CIS may wish to disable it as an alternative to blocking
traffic to and from ports 80 and 443.
A mass mailing worm, referred to as W32/Sobig.F, is
spreading on the Internet. New information indicates that this worm has additional
capabilities that were not realized at the time it first began propagating.
The W32/Sobig.F worm is an e-mail-borne malicious program
with a specially crafted attachment that has a .pif extension. The e-mail messages
may appear from random addresses and have subject lines like Re: Thank You!/Thank
You!/Your details/Re: Details/Re: Re: My details/Re: Approved/Re: Your application/Re:
Wicked screensaver/Re: That movie.
The worm requires a user to execute the malicious attachment
either manually or by using an e-mail client that will open the attachment automatically.
Upon successful execution, the worm installs itself as C:\%windir%\winppr.exe
and also creates the file C:\%windir%\winstt32.dat.
An entry is also added to the Run registry key so that
this executable will be run upon system restart. The key installed in HKEY _
LOCAL _ MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Run is ScanX with
the value "c:\winnt \winppr.exe /sinc". The program then proceeds
to scan files with certain extensions (htm, html, dbx, hlp, mht, txt, wab) on
the compromised system for valid e-mail addresses, and it uses an internal SMTP
engine to e-mail itself to those addresses.
The worm uses the Network Time Protocol (NTP) to determine
the current time. The worm also includes code that attempts to contact a list
of 20 predefined IP addresses on port 8998/UDP on Fridays and Sundays between
1900 and 2200 UTC. It is believed that a location from which additional code
can be downloaded is sent over this channel.
Run and maintain anti-virus product: While an up-to-date
anti-virus software package cannot protect against all malicious code, for most
users it remains the best first-line of defense against malicious code attacks.
Most anti-virus software vendors release frequently updated information, tools,
or virus databases to help detect and recover from malicious code, including
Do not run programs of unknown origin: Never download,
install, or run a program unless you know it to be authored by a person or company
that you trust. E-mail users should be wary of unexpected attachments. Users
of Internet Relay Chat (IRC), Instant Messaging (IM), and file-sharing services
should be particularly wary of following links or running software sent to them
by other users since these are commonly used methods among intruders attempting
to build networks of Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) agents.
Filter network traffic: Sites are encouraged to block
network access to the following relevant ports at network borders. This can
minimize the potential of DoS attacks originating from outside the perimeter.
The specific services that should be blocked include: 123/UDP, 995/UDP, 996/UDP,
997/UDP, 998/UDP, 999/UDP, 8998/UDP
If access cannot be blocked for all external hosts,
limit access to only those hosts that require it for normal operation.There
is no report of any continued activity related to the "second phase"
of the worm's operation, but encourages users to take action to recover their
systems. Users need to install anti-virus software, and keep its virus signature
Symantec Security Response, Asia Pacific,
provided an analysis of its August data. August was a month for new malicious
threats, many of which feature in the Top Ten Threat list. This is the
first time that the Internet community has had to deal with four Category,
3 or 4 worms in the space of eight days. First it was Blaster, then Welchia,
then Dumaru, and finally Sobig.F.
Blaster and Welchia, two prominent threats
this month, exploited the same Microsoft vulnerability (DCOM RPC). It
is interesting to note that Bugbear.B, discovered in June this year, is
still the number one threat at the top of the global list and also exploited
a known vulnerability (Incorrect MIME Header Can Cause IE to Execute E-mail
This trend in exploiting vulnerabilities
has reinforced to Internet users the need to keep their security patches
up to date. For protection at the desktop, users should ensure they have
a firewall and update their anti-virus definitions to ensure that they
are protected from these threats.
| GLOBAL TOP TEN THREATS ASIA PACIFIC TOP TEN