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Security company warning of vulnerabilities in Windows XP SP2

By Matt Whipp

Posted on 12 Nov 2004 at 17:03

A US security company is warning that it has found ten 'serious' vulnerabilities in Windows XP systems with SP2 installed.

The company says it has passed on details of the flaws to Microsoft but won't reveal anything publicly. Recently, a security issue with iFrame in Internet Explorer that was made public before Microsoft had the chance to fix it. This lead to a virus being unleashed before Windows users had the chance to patch their systems against it.

However, Finjan has published the scope of exploiting these flaws, saying that an successful attacker could 'silently' gain remote control of an SP2 machine when the target system is used to browse the Internet.

It says an attacker could exploit the vulnerabilities to access files stored on the target system, and switch privilege zones so that the attacker would have the same sort of access as if they were logged in sat in front of the PC. In addition an attacker could switch off warning systems added by SP2 that would alert a user if an executable file is being downloaded locally.

'The recently released Service Pack 2 of Windows XP operating system offers certain features of security,' says Shlomo Touboul, CEO and Founder of Finjan Software. 'However, it suffers because it is still basically the same operating system and has some major flaws which compromise end-user security.

'A security patch of Windows operating system without changing the rules of the game will not be enough to fight the recent complex malicious code attacks such as Scob, Mydoom, and others.'

Microsoft says it cannot confirm whether the flaws exist and is not aware of any attacks exploiting the flaws detailed by Finjan, but that it is currently investigating the situation.

The company even suggests that Finjan maybe exaggerating the threat of its findings. 'Our early analysis indicates that Finjan's claims are potentially misleading and possibly erroneous regarding the breadth and severity of the alleged vulnerabilities in Windows XP SP2,' it said in a statement.

However, it commends Finjan on so far not disclosing the details of what it claims to have found. It says it will aim to include any appropriate patches in its monthly security bulletin rather than issue them out of cycle in order to give its business customers the kind of predictability that they need.

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