Microsoft Releases Security-Related Configuration Change

By Larry Seltzer  |  Posted 2004-07-02 Print this article Print

Update disables vulnerable system component to plug hole that enabled the recent Download.Ject attack.

Microsoft Corp. on Friday released what the company termed a "configuration change" to several versions of Windows in response to the recent attacks designated Download.Ject against its Internet Explorer browser. The change disables a system component called ADODB.Stream that was utilized by the attack to execute code on the victims system. The change will be available Friday on the Windows Update site and through the Automated Updates facility. It is now available on the Microsoft Download Center.

In a statement, the company said, "In addition to this configuration change, which will protect customers against the immediate reported threats, Microsoft is working to provide a series of security updates to Internet Explorer in coming weeks that will provide additional protections for our customers."

Following that, Microsoft will release Windows XP Service Pack 2, which will make substantial changes in the operating system to enhance security. The companys description of the Download.Ject attack says that users of the prerelease versions of Windows XP Service Pack 2 were not vulnerable to Download.Ject. The company also stressed that it is working with law enforcement and others in the industry to pursue those responsible for the Download.Ject attack.

For insights on security coverage around the Web, check out Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog. The vulnerability of the ADODB.Stream object has long been known by security researchers and has been discussed widely. This discussion from August 2003 on the SecurityFocus Vulnerabilities section describes the problem and a manual implementation of the same solution as Microsofts.

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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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