Two new vulnerabilities announced for Windows and IE

Microsoft has issued two new warnings for its Windows software in this month’s security bulletin. One is a flaw found in Windows 2000 Service Pack 4, while the other covers a number of security patches for Internet Explorer.

The first is a so-called ‘privilege elevation’ vulnerability that has been privately reported to Microsoft. Such vulnerability allows a hacker to gain unauthorised privileges on a machine or network. An example of privilege elevation would be a user with minimal rights, such as a logging in as ‘guest’, who could contrive a way to be added to the Administrator’s group to take advantage of the extended rights available.

In this case, the vulnerability exists in the way that asynchronous procedure calls are processed within the kernel. According to Microsoft, an attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system. As such, that person could then install malicious programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

The vulnerability cannot be exploited remotely and has to be via someone who is logged into the machine. Apparently, it does not affect Windows XP that is in use by the vast majority of Microsoft customers today.

The second update is for a cumulative patch for several IE vulnerabilities ranging from the moderate to the critical. They include patches for HTTPS proxy vulnerabilities to File Download dialog box manipulation.

The company is also updating its Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool on Windows Update, Microsoft Update, Windows Server Update Services, and the company’s Download Centre Web site.

Full details are at the Microsoft TechNet site.

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