Jeremy Kirk, IDG News Service
Microsoft is warning of two bugs in its software that could
potentially give unauthorized control or access over a person's
computer, while a third problem has been highlighted by a security
One vulnerability revisits the Windows Metafile (WMF) debacle from
December, but impacts fewer users. The bug is in Internet Explorer
(IE) 5.01 Service Pack 4 on the Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 OS and IE
5.5 Service Pack 2 on Windows Millennium, Microsoft says.
An attacker could gain control if a user opened a malicious e-mail
attachment or if a user were persuaded into visiting a Web site that
had a specially-crafted WMF image, Microsoft says.
A patch has not been issued, but Microsoft says the issue is under
investigation, and an out-of-cycle patch could be provided depending
on customer needs. Microsoft typically issues patches on the second
Tuesday of the month, due this month on February 14.
Second Flaw Found
A second vulnerability could allow a person with low-user privileges
gain higher-level access, Microsoft says. Proof-of-concept code that
has been released attempts to exploit overly permissive access
controls on third-party application services, along with the default
services of Windows XP Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2003, the
company says. No attacks have been reported.
Microsoft says several factors diminish the threat of the
problem. Those running Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Windows Server
2003 Service Pack 1 -- the latest updates of the software -- are not
affected, and someone who launches an attack would need authenticated
access to the affected OS, it says.
Security vendor Secunia detailed a third vulnerability involving
Microsoft's HTML Help Workshop, software that can create online help
for a software application or Web site content.
Secunia says the problem "is caused due to a boundary error within the
handling of a '.hhp' file that contains an overly long string in the
'contents file' field. This can be exploited to cause a stack-based
buffer overflow and allows arbitrary code execution when a malicious
'.hhp' file is opened."
The bug could allow arbitrary code to be executed on a computer,
Secunia says. An exploit has been released, and Secunia advises that
untrusted.hhp files not be opened.
Copyright 2006 PC World Communications, Inc.
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