Microsoft Fixes Critical Windows Image Flaw

Security alert: Microsoft fixes a security hole that could hand over control of your PC to an attacker.

Microsoft Tuesday fixed a hole that could hand over control of your PC to an attacker if you view one poisoned image on a Web site or in an HTML e-mail. Similar flaws have been heavily targeted by online crooks in the past.

The flaw, MS09-006, involves the way the Windows kernel handles WMF and EMF (Windows Metafile and Enhanced Metafile) images. Simply viewing such an image on an unpatched PC would allow an attacker to execute any command, such as downloading and installing malware, and the risk is rated critical for Windows 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista and Server 2008.

Mike Reavey, a Microsoft Security Response Center directory, says in an explanatory video that this flaw is "probably of interest to all customers using Windows," but that it "probably won't be reliably exploited." However, similar-sounding prior flaws with metafiles were widely targeted, and neither Reavey nor the bulletin says why this one might be any different. So play it safe and be sure to get this patch via automatic updates, and get more info from Microsoft's bulletin.

A second fix (MS09-007) in Microsoft's Patch Tuesday patch batch fixes a problem in the Microsoft Windows SChannel authentication component for Web sites. The hole could allow a bad guy to pretend to be a real user if the crook got his hands on the public portion of the user's authentication certificate, where normally a public and private component are required. The spoofing risk is only rated important, not critical, for Windows 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista and Server 2008.

The third security fix for this month affects DNS and WINS servers. IT admins will need to apply the patch or risk DNS cache poisoning, an attack that has been successfully used in the past to force entire networks to visit a malicious Web site. See the MS09-008 bulletin for more info, and as with the other two patches, get the fix by running automatic updates.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Microsoftsecurity patch

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

Erik Larkin

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?