Emergency patch for Windows after surge in attacks

Microsoft is issuing an emergency “out-of-band” security patch after a sharp increase in exploits using a vulnerability in Windows shortcuts.

Emergency patch for Windows after surge in attacks

“We are releasing the bulletin as we’ve completed the required testing,” said Christopher Budd, Microsoft senior security response communication manager, in a blog post. “In the past few days, we’ve seen an increase in attempts to exploit the vulnerability.”

The vulnerability affects shortcut files in Windows 7, XP and Vista. According to the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, it has been been keeping a close watch on the use of .LNK files exploiting this flaw, with new hacking techniques emerging from copycat attackers.

“Although there have been multiple families that have picked up this vector, one in particular caught our attention – a family named Sality, and specifically Sality.AT,” the company said in its security blog.

“Sality is a highly virulent strain. It is known to infect other files (making full removal after infection challenging), copy itself to removable media, disable security, and then download other malware.”

Microsoft had had previously outlined a workaround to protect against the vulnerability but it involved erasing shortcut icons and replacing them with blank white icons.

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