Microsoft security patch was seven years in the making

An SMB bug fixed by Microsoft Tuesday was publicly disclosed more than seven years ago.

Some security patches take time.

Seven-and-a-half years, in fact, if you count the time it's taken Microsoft to patch a security issue in its SMB (Server Message Block) service, fixed Tuesday. This software is used by Windows to share files and print documents over a network.

In a blog posting, Microsoft acknowledged that "Public tools, including a Metasploit module, are available to perform this attack." Metasploit is an open-source toolkit used by hackers and security professionals to build attack code.

According to Metasploit, the flaw goes back to March 2001, when a hacker named Josh Buchbinder (a.k.a Sir Dystic) published code showing how the attack worked.

Symantec Research Manager Ben Greenbaum said the flaw may have first been disclosed at Defcon 2000, by Veracode Chief Scientist Christien Rioux (a.k.a. Dildog)

Whomever discovered the flaw, Microsoft seems to have taken an unusually long time to fix the bug.

"This is definitely out of the ordinary," Greenbaum said. He said he did not know why Microsoft had waited so long to fix the issue.

"I've been holding my breath since 2001 for this patch," said Shavlik Technologies Chief Technology Officer Eric Schultze, in an e-mailed statement. Buchbinder's attack, called a SMB relay attack, "showed how easy it was to take control of a remote machine without knowing the password," he said.

For the attack to work, a victim could be sent a malicious e-mail message that, when opened, would try to connect to a server run by the attacker. That machine would then steal network authentication credentials from the victim, which could then be used to gain access to the victim's machine.

This type of attack would be blocked by a firewall, so a hacker would have to already be on a computer within the network in order to launch the SMB relay. Microsoft rates the flaw as "important" for Windows XP, 2000 and Server 2003 users, and as "moderate" for Vista and Server 2008.

Nevertheless Schultze said he considered the patch "critical" for machines on a corporate network.

He said the attack is "pretty easy" to pull off today. "It's a great vector of attack on a corporate network where file and print sharing ports and services may be unprotected," he said.

Microsoft representatives were unable to comment for this story Tuesday afternoon.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoftsmb

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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?