Windows vulnerability can compromise credentials

An old flaw in Windows can still be exploited, according to Cylance

A vulnerability found in the late 1990s in Microsoft Windows can still be used to steal login credentials, according to a security advisory released Monday.

A researcher with security vendor Cylance, Brian Wallace, found a new way to exploit a flaw originally found in 1997. Wallace wrote on Monday the flaw affects any PC, tablet or server running Windows and could compromise as many as 31 software programs.

He wrote the flaw was not resolved long ago, but that "we hope that our research will compel Microsoft to reconsider the vulnerabilities."

The vulnerability, called Redirect to SMB, can be exploited if an attacker can intercept communications with a Web server using a man-in-the-middle attack.

Windows or a program running on Windows can then be directed to communicate with a malicious SMB (server message block) server, which can then force an application to divulge the username, domain and hashed password of the person logged in, Wallace wrote.

Cylance disclosed its findings on Feb. 27 to the Computer Emergency Readiness Team at Carnegie Melon University, which issued an advisory.

CERT wrote that although the collected credentials are encrypted, attackers could try brute-force techniques -- which involves trying to guess a password -- until access is gained.

There are some mitigations. An attacker needs to be on the same network as a victim. It is also possible to block an attack by stopping outbound traffic on TCP ports 139 and 445, Wallace wrote.

Microsoft said it didn't agree with Cylance's findings, saying it provided guidance on the issue to businesses six years ago. "Several factors would need to come together for this type of cyberattack to work, such as success in luring a person to enter information into a fake website," it said. "We encourage people to avoid opening links in emails from senders that they don't recognize or visiting unsecure sites."

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags CylanceMicrosoftsecurityExploits / vulnerabilities

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

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

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

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

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

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

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

STYLISTIC Q702

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?