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Microsoft Windows 'search-ms' Protocol Parsing Remote Code Execution Vulnerability

Risk

High

Date Discovered

December 9, 2008

Description

Microsoft Windows Explorer is prone to a remote code-execution vulnerability that affects the 'search-ms' protocol handler. An attacker could exploit this issue by enticing a victim to visit a maliciously crafted website. Successfully exploiting this issue would allow the attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of the currently logged-in user. This issue affects Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. NOTE: Supported editions of Windows Server 2008 are not affected if installed using the Server Core installation option.

Technologies Affected

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 for 32-bit Systems
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 for x64-based Systems
  • Microsoft Windows Vista
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Business
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Business 64-bit edition
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Business 64-bit edition SP1
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Business SP1
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit edition
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit edition SP1
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Enterprise SP1
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic 64-bit edition
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic 64-bit edition SP1
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic SP1
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit edition
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit edition SP1
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1
  • Microsoft Windows Vista SP1
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit edition
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit edition SP1
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate SP1
  • Microsoft Windows Vista x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Vista x64 Edition SP1

Recommendations

Run all software as a nonprivileged user with minimal access rights.

To mitigate the impact of a successful exploit, run the affected application as a user with minimal access rights.

Deploy network intrusion detection systems to monitor network traffic for malicious activity.

Deploy NIDS to monitor network traffic for signs of suspicious or anomalous activity. This may help detect malicious actions that an attacker may take after successfully exploiting vulnerabilities in applications. Review all applicable logs regularly.

Do not follow links provided by unknown or untrusted sources.

Never accept files or follow links from untrusted or unknown sources, because they may be malicious in nature.
Microsoft has released a security bulletin and fixes to address this vulnerability. Please see the references for more information.

Credits

Nate McFeters
Copyright © Symantec Corporation.
Permission to redistribute this alert electronically is granted as long as it is not edited in any way unless authorized by Symantec Security Response. Reprinting the whole or part of this alert in any medium other than electronically requires permission from secure@symantec.com.

Disclaimer
The information in the advisory is believed to be accurate at the time of publishing based on currently available information. Use of the information constitutes acceptance for use in an AS IS condition. There are no warranties with regard to this information. Neither the author nor the publisher accepts any liability for any direct, indirect, or consequential loss or damage arising from use of, or reliance on, this information.
Symantec, Symantec products, Symantec Security Response, and secure@symantec.com are registered trademarks of Symantec Corp. and/or affiliated companies in the United States and other countries. All other registered and unregistered trademarks represented in this document are the sole property of their respective companies/owners.

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