Hopefully you are not using a friends computer to read this report. Microsoft has just issued a patch marked as ‘Critical’ which applies to Windows 2000, XP, and Server 2003 – and another patch marked ‘Important’ for Windows Vista and Serer 2008.
The critical vulnerability, according to Microsoft, is caused by the operating system’s improper handling of specifically crafted remote procedure call (RPC) requests. The problem is already being exploited in the wild and can allow attackers to gain full control of a computer. Microsoft also added that the windows firewall can be used to block such an attack.
Quoting a Microsoft security bulletin:
“It is possible that this vulnerability could be used in the crafting of a wormable exploit. Firewall best practices and standard default firewall configurations can help protect network resources from attacks that originate outside the enterprise perimeter.”
On older Windows operating systems, 2000, XP, and Server 2003, attackers can gain access to networks as anonymous users. They would still be able to access networks using the Vista and Server 2008 exploits, but they need to be an authenticated user.
Microsoft claims that it had discovered the flaw itself, rather than through a security firm or by monitoring ‘chatter’ on hacker websites. Microsoft normally issues Windows updates on the second Tuesday of each month – these patches have been released ahead of regular schedule due to high importance of course. These kind of updates are referred to as ‘out-of-band’ releases.