Microsoft issues five bulletins on Windows flaws

Microsoft released five Security Bulletins warning of several vulnerabilities that put computers running Windows at risk of attack.

The flaws affect desktop as well as server installations of multiple Windows versions. However, none are rated "critical," Microsoft's highest severity rating. The Redmond, Washington, software maker deems the issues it reported on Tuesday "important," one notch lower on its severity rating scale.

In Microsoft's rating system for security issues, vulnerabilities that could allow a malicious Internet worm to spread without any action on the part of the user are rated critical. Issues that require a user action to spread a worm, but could still expose user data or threaten system resources, are rated important.

A set of vulnerabilities in the Windows word processing application WordPad affects many Windows releases, including Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) and Windows Server 2003. An attacker could exploit the flaws to gain complete control over the systems, Microsoft warned in bulletin MS04-041. (See:

The WordPad flaws lie in conversion components of the application, Microsoft said. To exploit the vulnerabilities, an attacker would have to lure a victim to a specially crafted Web page or send an attachment in e-mail.

Microsoft deems the WordPad issue "important" on systems running Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000 and Windows XP with Service Pack 1. Systems running Windows XP SP2 or Windows Server 2003 are at lesser risk, according to Microsoft. Also, an installation of Microsoft Word mitigates the risk, the vendor said.

Affecting the same Windows releases is a security vulnerability in HyperTerminal. A buffer overrun flaw in the Windows communications application could allow an attacker to take over a victim's system, Microsoft said in security bulletin MS04-043. A successful attack would require the victim to open a malicious HyperTerminal file, Microsoft said. (See:

The HyperTerminal issue is "important" for systems running Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000 and Windows XP. HyperTerminal is not installed by default on Windows Server 2003. Microsoft rates the issue "moderate" for that operating system.

Limited to Windows NT Server 4.0 are two flaws in the operating system's DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server service. One could allow an attacker to launch a denial of service attack, disabling the DHCP service. The second vulnerability could allow remote code execution, Microsoft said in Security Bulletin MS04-042. (See:

A set of flaws in the Windows Internet Name Service (WINS) affect Windows NT Server 4.0, Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003. An attacker could gain control of a system running the software by constructing a malicious network packet, Microsoft said in Security Bulletin MS04-045. (See:

WINS is a network infrastructure component. It provides a distributed database for registering and querying dynamic computer name-to-IP address mapping in a routed network. Details of a WINS flaw were first published last month on the BugTraq mailing list by security company Immunity Inc.

Finally, Microsoft warned of security flaws in the Windows kernel and the Windows Local Security Authority Subsystem Service (LSASS). Both are privilege escalation vulnerabilities, which could allow an attacker who has already logged on to a system to escalate his privileges and get full access, Microsoft said.

The kernel and LSASS issues affect Windows NT Server 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, Microsoft said in bulletin MS04-044. (See:

The bulletins released on Tuesday are part of Microsoft's monthly update cycle. The next "patch Tuesday" is the second Tuesday of January.

Join the newsletter!


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.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joris Evers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?