Researchers find vulnerability in Windows Vista

An Austrian security vendor has found a vulnerability in Windows Vista that could possibly allow an attacker to run unauthorized code on a PC.

An Austrian security vendor has found a vulnerability in Windows Vista that it says could possibly allow an attacker to run unauthorized code on a PC.

The problem is rooted in the Device IO Control, which handles internal device communication. Researchers at Phion have found two different ways to cause a buffer overflow that could corrupt the memory of the operating system's kernel.

In one of the scenarios, a person would already have to have administrative rights to the PC. In general, vulnerabilities that require that level of access somewhat undermine the risk since the attacker already has permission to use to the PC.

But it may be possible to trigger the buffer overflow without administrative rights, said Thomas Unterleitner, Phion's director of endpoint security software.

The vulnerability could allow a hacker to install a rootkit, a small piece of malicious software that is very difficult to detect and remove from a computer, Unterleitner said.

Phion notified Microsoft about the problem on Oct. 22. Microsoft indicated to Phion that it would issue a patch with Vista's next service pack. Microsoft released a beta version of Vista's second service pack to testers last month. Vista's Service Pack 2 is due for release by June 2009.

Unterleitner said there has been lots of interest in the vulnerability. "We have received requests for detailed information on how to take advantage of this exploit from all over the world," he said.

Microsoft officials contacted in London did not have an immediate comment.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Windows Vistarootkits

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Deals on Good Gear Guide

Deals on Good Gear Guide

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?