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Microsoft Warns of Critical Windows' Flaw (Windows users alert)
Reuters ^ | Tue February 10, 2004 04:09 PM ET | By Reed Stevenson and Elinor Mills Abreu

Posted on 02/10/2004 2:37:35 PM PST by gdyniawitawa

SEATTLE/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) on Tuesday said a critical flaw in most versions of its flagship Windows operating system could allow attackers to run malicious programs on personal computers.

In its monthly security bulletin, the world's largest software maker warned that Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 were at risk and offered software updates to fix the flaws, which were given Microsoft's highest severity rating of "critical."

"It does affect all (current) versions of Windows," said Stephen Toulouse, security program manager for Microsoft's Security Response Center. "We're not aware of anyone affected by this at this time."

Marc Maiffret, co-founder of eEye Digital Security, the company that discovered the flaw, criticized Microsoft for taking more than six months to come up with a patch to fix the problem, particularly since the flaw allows an attacker multiple ways to break into a system and could do almost anything they wanted to the system.

"We contacted Microsoft about these vulnerabilities 200 days ago, which is insane," he said. "Even the most secure Windows networks are going to be vulnerable to this flaw, which is very unique."

In response, Toulouse said Microsoft needed to take time to make sure to get the fix right, especially given how pervasive the vulnerability is in the software.

"We wanted to make absolutely sure we were doing as broad an investigation as possible," he said.

Windows users can download the patch for the vulnerability from www.microsoft.com/security.

The obvious steps to take are to run Windows Update and install the patches to fix the vulnerabilities as soon as possible," said Craig Schmugar, a virus research manager at Network Associates Inc.'s (NET.N: Quote, Profile, Research) McAfee anti-virus unit.

The latest fixes for Microsoft's software are unrelated to the latest virus attacks by MyDoom and its variants, Schmugar said.

Microsoft switched to a monthly cycle of releasing security updates in order to make it easier for system administrators to keep their software secure and up to date But the company released a critical update a week ago, ahead of Tuesday's scheduled release, in order to fix a patch in its Explorer Web browser that could make PCs vulnerable to attackers. In addition, Microsoft announced a mid-grade security warning for the latest version of its server products for networked computers.

Two years ago, the Redmond, Washington-based company pledged to make its software products more secure and reliable under an initiative, called Trustworthy Computing, outlined in a companywide memo by Chairman Bill Gates.

But computers running the company's software have been hit by several high-profile attacks, such as the SQL Slammer, Nimda and SoBig attacks.

On Monday, a new worm called "Doomjuice," an offshoot of the MyDoom worm, emerged, which used personal computers compromised by the original MyDoom worm to attack and slow down parts of Microsoft's Web site, according to security experts.

The MyDoom worm, as well as its variant MyDoom.B, were designed to entice e-mail recipients to click open an attachment, which then installed malicious software on a personal computer. The worms then instructed infected PCs to flood the Web sites of the SCO Group Inc. (SCOX.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and Microsoft in an effort to shut them down


TOPICS: Announcements; Front Page News; Miscellaneous; Technical
KEYWORDS: lowquality; microsoft; nosecurity; windowsos
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1 posted on 02/10/2004 2:37:38 PM PST by gdyniawitawa
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To: gdyniawitawa
Humm. I'm running Win98SE on this office computer, but I guess I'll have to visit Windows Update when I get home. It wasn't there this morning.

Updating once a month was a crazy idea. I hope MS will reconsider it. The updates should be posted if, as, and when they are ready. If SysAdmins want to update once a month, let them. But the rest of us would rather not have such an artificial constraint imposed on us, I would imagine.
2 posted on 02/10/2004 2:59:53 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: gdyniawitawa
I've downloaded and installed the lastest patches to be on the safe side. However, I haven't been compromised by a virus or trojan horse cause I practice safe computing and have anti-virus and firewall software installed on my PC.
3 posted on 02/10/2004 3:02:44 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: gdyniawitawa; All
Please find a link attach to this thread. You will be able to find more information dealing with this virus.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=MyDoom+worm&btnG=Google+Search
4 posted on 02/10/2004 3:07:50 PM PST by gdyniawitawa
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To: gdyniawitawa
I don't let my PC anywhere near the web anymore. I routed my previous email account to my .mac account. I ONLY surf through my mac. No viruses.
5 posted on 02/10/2004 3:14:45 PM PST by mercy
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To: gdyniawitawa
"Flagship Windows operating system." What a joke. Its one leaky, rusty, slow, ugly flagship! Macintosh rules.

6 posted on 02/10/2004 4:06:26 PM PST by Astronaut
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To: mercy
I've been on the Web 8 years, use a PC and have never gotten a virus from the Web. I use the Web extensively. No need to go paranoid.
7 posted on 02/10/2004 4:10:20 PM PST by DB ()
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To: Astronaut
If Macintosh ruled, all the viruses would be written for the Mac instead... I wish the Mac "ruled"...
8 posted on 02/10/2004 4:12:19 PM PST by DB ()
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To: Cicero
Updating once a month was a crazy idea.

Microsoft didn't update their browser for three months, finally patching it last week despite known issues. But at least they have agreed to service 98SE a few more years, the security problems are never ending.

9 posted on 02/10/2004 4:12:35 PM PST by Reaganwuzthebest
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To: DB; mercy
I've been on the Web 8 years, use a PC and have never gotten a virus from the Web. I use the Web extensively. No need to go paranoid.

Same here, even the number of years. So long as you take reasonable care -- not opening unknown attachments, etc. -- and if you don't share a LAN with doofuses, you're fine.

10 posted on 02/10/2004 4:14:51 PM PST by Sloth (It doesn't take 60 seats to control the Senate; it only takes 102 testicles.)
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To: gdyniawitawa
All explained here a long time ago
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1017846/posts#9
11 posted on 02/10/2004 4:18:37 PM PST by Truth666
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To: mercy
I don't let my PC anywhere near the web anymore.

It must be terrible to go through life so fearful. I suppose you also believe in gun control.

Here's a clue: anyone who has a virus scanner and turnd on the built in firewall in Windows XP and loads the recommended updates will never get these bugs. All of the recent infestations have hit people who refused to update.

Adwar is a different issue. You actually have to have the sense to say no to offers of free stuff.

12 posted on 02/10/2004 4:20:38 PM PST by js1138
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To: gdyniawitawa
LindowsOS
13 posted on 02/10/2004 5:07:42 PM PST by B Knotts (Deport Arnold! <-(shamelessly ripped off from dangus))
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To: gdyniawitawa
It will be hard for me to ever trust Microsoft again after downloading a virus fix and got a back door virus from their site. I will and have an automatic virus program that updates automatically since that time and will not go near any Microsoft site for anything. I'll buy their programs but I will not visit their site and download anything from them.
14 posted on 02/10/2004 5:18:18 PM PST by AIC
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To: gdyniawitawa
This is what happens when there is no competition. Microsoft was allowed to use questionable tactics to gain monopoly status and we wonder why their quality is non-existant?
15 posted on 02/10/2004 5:19:04 PM PST by NCjim
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To: js1138
Adwar is a different issue. You actually have to have the sense to say no to offers of free stuff.

Well, I know one school faculty you can eliminate from the "good sense" category, then. I spent part of the afternoon hooking some scan converters up to the computers and televisions in a couple of classrooms this afternoon. And oh my God were they the most bug-infested things I've ever seen - Xupiter toolbars and Comet Cursors and Gatorware everywhere, on every single machine I saw there. I literally felt dirty just touching the things to plug a VGA cable in. I didn't have the heart to tell the IT guy there that his computers were more full of holes than a shotgunned Swiss cheese...

16 posted on 02/10/2004 5:41:00 PM PST by general_re (Remember that what's inside of you doesn't matter because nobody can see it.)
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To: Cicero
I'm running Win98SE

An operating system no longer supported by Microsoft.

17 posted on 02/10/2004 6:11:49 PM PST by PAR35
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To: DB
It wouldn't do any good to write viruses for OS X. No Active X to transmit them. Ports are not open by default the way Windows does. Mac OS X is more secure by design; the myth that there are no viruses for Macintosh because no one bothers is pure Microsoft generated myth.
18 posted on 02/10/2004 6:19:16 PM PST by Astronaut
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To: PAR35
An operating system no longer supported by Microsoft.

Microsoft agreed to support 98SE for another two years:

Windows Plan Underscores Microsoft Struggle

19 posted on 02/10/2004 6:25:48 PM PST by Reaganwuzthebest
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To: mercy
I don't let my PC anywhere near the web anymore. I routed my previous email account to my .mac account.

Cool. I'll dust off my VIC-20 and join you...

20 posted on 02/10/2004 6:57:27 PM PST by Publius6961 (40% of Californians are as dumb as a sack of rocks.)
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