Two new WMF bugs found

Two more WMF vulnerabilities have been found in the Windows operating system.

Just days after Microsoft patched a critical vulnerability in the way the Windows operating system renders certain types of graphics files, a hacker has published details of two new flaws that affect the same part of the operating system.

The new vulnerabilities were posted to the Bugtraq security mailing list by a hacker going by the name of cocoruder. (http://msgs.securepoint.com/cgi-bin/get/bugtraq0601/90.html)

All three flaws concern the way Windows renders images in the Windows Metafile (WMF) format used by some CAD (computer-aided design) applications, but these latest flaws are far less serious than the vulnerability that Microsoft patched last week, according to security experts. That vulnerability was serious enough to cause Microsoft to take the unusual step of releasing an early patch to the problem, ahead of its monthly security software update.

While the patched flaw was being exploited by attackers to take control of Windows machines, the latest vulnerabilities appear to pose the risk of simply crashing the WMF-viewing software, typically Internet Explorer. However, users would first need to trick a victim into viewing a specially crafted WMF image in order for this to happen, security experts say.

The vulnerabilities can be found in a number of versions of Windows, including Windows XP, Service Pack 2, Windows Server 2003, Service Pack 1, and Windows 2000, Service Pack 4, according to cocoruder's Bugtraq posting.

Because of the inherent complexity of image formats, there were plenty of opportunities for attackers to find bugs similar to the two that were revealed, senior information security analyst for Cybertrust, Russ Cooper, said.

Cooper said that the new WMF vulnerabilities were not a major cause of concern.

"New malformed images that simply crash things aren't really that important unless they can be shown to cause code to execute," he said. "This is only getting any attention because its WMF and Microsoft just released a WMF patch."

Johannes Ullrich, chief research officer for the SANS Institute, agreed that these type of image problems were fairly common, but he said that the fact that so many WMF vulnerabilities had popped up recently - Microsoft fixed three other WMF bugs in November - indicated that the software vendor could be doing a better job of predicting where its security problems might lie.

Microsoft should have been able to catch these latest flaws and fix them with its November patch, Ullrich said.

"They really seem to have a problem thinking offensively," he said. "If you don't really look for these vulnerabilities with this offensive mindset, but if you instead look at it from a programmers perspective ... you just don't find a lot of these things."

"Every month they have one or two image problems they fix," Ullrich said. "It's actually kind of surprising they don't get exploited more."

A spokesperson from Microsoft was unable to provide comment for this story.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >

Mobile

Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?