Exploit Circulating for Windows LSASS Vulnerability

By Larry Seltzer  |  Posted 2004-04-29 Print this article Print

Separate vulnerability was patched with same cumulative patch as the SSL vulnerability being exploited in recent days.

An exploit has begun circulating for another of the vulnerabilities in Windows revealed by Microsoft Corp. earlier this month. The vulnerability, a buffer overrun in the Local Security Authority Subsystem Service (LSASS), was patched as part of a large, cumulative update coded MS04-011. The exploit takes the form of a new variant of the Gaobot worm. According to McAfees Avert research, this worm has had almost a thousand variations since its initial release, partly because the source to the worm has been released as well.

Once installed, the worm allows a remote attacker to perform a large number of dangerous operations, including installing and removing software, performing denial of service attacks, and shutting down the computer.

The MS04-011 patch that addresses this problem is the same one that addresses the SSL/PCT vulnerability that has received much attention in recent days because of separate exploits. Microsoft has admitted, however, that this patch has technical problems that can cause some systems to lock up and fail to reboot. Administrators should still install the patch, but only after testing.

In spite of the danger if a system is infected, McAfee has the worm, which it calls W32/Gaobot.worm.ali, rated as a "low" threat both to corporate and home users, because it has not spread far.

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Larry Seltzer has been writing software for and English about computers ever since—,much to his own amazement—,he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983.

He was one of the authors of NPL and NPL-R, fourth-generation languages for microcomputers by the now-defunct DeskTop Software Corporation. (Larry is sad to find absolutely no hits on any of these +products on Google.) His work at Desktop Software included programming the UCSD p-System, a virtual machine-based operating system with portable binaries that pre-dated Java by more than 10 years.

For several years, he wrote corporate software for Mathematica Policy Research (they're still in business!) and Chase Econometrics (not so lucky) before being forcibly thrown into the consulting market. He bummed around the Philadelphia consulting and contract-programming scenes for a year or two before taking a job at NSTL (National Software Testing Labs) developing product tests and managing contract testing for the computer industry, governments and publication.

In 1991 Larry moved to Massachusetts to become Technical Director of PC Week Labs (now eWeek Labs). He moved within Ziff Davis to New York in 1994 to run testing at Windows Sources. In 1995, he became Technical Director for Internet product testing at PC Magazine and stayed there till 1998.

Since then, he has been writing for numerous other publications, including Fortune Small Business, Windows 2000 Magazine (now Windows and .NET Magazine), ZDNet and Sam Whitmore's Media Survey.

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