March Digests part b
March 1997 Digests
Happy Hacker Digest March 15-16, 1997
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H a p p y h a c k i n g !
Special Windows NT Hacking Resources Issue
With the wildfire spread of the Windows NT operating system,
its growing use for Internet and Web servers, NT is becoming
operating system that hackers love to hack. To keep
up with the
growing list of NT exploits, there are several excellent
lists you may wish to join. Following are three of the
T a s t y B i t s f r o m
t h e T e c h n o l o g y
F r o n t
Timely news of the bellwethers in computer
technology that will affect electronic
commerce -- since 1994
Your Host: Keith Dawson
This issue: <URL:http://www.tbtf.com/archive/03-09-97.html>
*** Microsoft scrambles to close loopholes in software and image
In the last week three students at three American
dis- covered three serious security loopholes in
Internet and desktop software, and, after contacting
published three similar Web pages to spread the
word and to cement
credit for their finds. In each case the bug was
discovered by a
single student, who then enlisted friends to investigate
publish the findings.
Date School MSIE Win95?
------ ------ ----- ------ ------
2/27 WPI 3.0
 David 3/4
UMD 3.0 no
SP 1 or 2
 Chris 3/7
MIT 3.01 yes
Microsoft now has a patch  available for download
all three bugs.
The WPI bug  (also called Cybersnot, after the
domain name at
which it was published) exploits the surprising
fact that a remote
machine can directly access and run Windows "Shortcuts"
-- .LNK or
.URL files. This bug is the most widely dangerous
of the three.
The second bug , called UMD, as demonstrated
requires the user
to double-click on an icon imbedded in a Web page;
this action can
run a program on the client machine. Machines in
fire- walls are not vulnerable, so the bug affects
machines than the original one. The MIT bug 
uses .ISP files,
yet another flavor of automatically executable objects
Microsoft environment, this one intended to help
users sign up for
Internet service. (Per- haps characteristicly, the
MIT page sniffs
at the weak "exploit" examples developed by UMD.)
When Microsoft first posted a patch to the WPI bug,
com- puter security / antivirus company, EliaShim,
opportunity to add value (and get lots of publicity
and names for
their database). The effect of the Microsoft
patch is to warn the
user if s/he is about to download a Shortcut. EliaShim
a stronger patch that unilaterally prevents the
download of a
Shortcut. (You can download the patch, called IE-SAFE,
-- but note that Elia- Shim collects contact information
before letting you down- load, a move I consider
sleazy.) EliaShim claims that the bug affects not
only IE, but
also Microsoft's Internet Mail and Internet News
running on Win 95 and Win NT, a claim which Microsoft
A blizzard of news coverage followed the first bug's
by the morning of 3/4 the story had spread from
seven Net news
organizations to page 1 of the New York Times, above
Coverage has tailed off rapidly with the drumbeat
of new discov-
eries; the news value of "more of the same" has
a perilously short
half-life. This is a shame, because the real story
is in the pat-
tern. As the UMD discoverer David Ross noted, these
result from the expedited push to integrate the
with the traditional Microsoft desktop. The desktop
to be private. Networks aren't private.
*** Linus moves ten time zones west
Or is that fourteen east? Linus Tovalds, the creator
of Linux, has
left his native Finland for Santa Clara, CA, where
he will join a
start-up chip design company called Transmeta. (They
have a domain
name but not yet a Web page.)
TBTF home and archive at <URL:http://www.tbtf.com/>.
send the message "subscribe" to email@example.com.
is © 1994-1997 by Keith Dawson, <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Com- mercial use prohibited. For non-commercial
forward, post, and link as you see fit.
Layer of ash separates morning and evening milk.
*** Windows NT BugTraq Mailing List Announcement
In the tradition of Aleph One's BugTraq mailing list, this
been created to invite the free and open discussion of
Security Exploits/Bugs or *SEBs* as I call them. This
list is not
intended to be a forum to discuss "how to" issues, but
should be used to report reproducible SEBs which you have
personally encountered with Windows NT or its related
Q:What is a SEB?
A:Anything that can be done to a Windows NT installation
remote connection (network or RAS) or through the local
installation of commercial software which causes Windows
react in anything but an expected fashion. So telnet to
135 and typing 15 characters thereby causing the Windows
NT CPU to
go to 100% utilization would be an acceptable topic. Sitting
console logged in as Administrator and removing the
Administrator's file permissions on the %systemroot%\system32
would not be considered an acceptable topic.
- Discuss SEB resolution or workaround.
- Discuss SEBs in third-party Windows NT products, providing
the product is designed for BackOffice.
- Discuss Macintosh, Netware, or Samba/Unix-related SEBs
that the SEB is related to Windows NT involvement.
- Discuss Windows '95, unless, and only if, the Windows
NT SEB can
only be reproduced with a Windows '95 client.
- Discuss Windows for Workgroups or Windows 3.x, for any
- Discuss products to enhance security, unless they have
proven to resolve an outstanding SEB.
- Discuss Unix SEBs, these should be addressed to
BUGTRAQ@NETSPACE.ORG (subscribe through LISTSERV@NETSPACE.ORG)
- Discuss general Windows NT Security, how to, what to,
type questions. The NTSecurity@ISS.net list
MAJORDOMO@ISS.NET) would be a better forum
to discuss these
Vendor involvement in the list is not discouraged, but
I would ask
that you not use this forum as a method of advertising
the value of
your products. If a SEB shows a weakness in Windows NT
your product can resolve that weakness, a short note indicating
TECHNICALLY how your product addresses the issue would
appropriate. If you don't address the issue in a technical
your subscription will be revoked.
Now after reading all of this you'll probably wonder why
so restrictive. For one, I want to keep the volume low,
as low as
possible. I want to keep the content as pertinent
as I possibly
can so that the list becomes a useful tool for everyone
Windows NT. If the list can remain on topic, people will
here first, and we will all have an opportunity to address
issues in a way best suited to our environments.
I would also make a couple of recommendations to you prior
posting a security exploit/bug.
1. Don't post SEBs unless you have been able to reproduce
the subscriber base grows as I expect it will, posting
messages may cause many people to waste valuable time
reproduce something which is not there.
2. When posting a SEB, make sure you include enough relevant
information about your configuration to make it possible
reproduce your scenario. Versions of the relevant
service pack levels of your system, platform, and any
information which might affect the issue. By doing this
prevent a lot of messages asking you the basic questions
resolution or workaround that much quicker.
3. When posting a resolution or workaround, if you have
Microsoft Knowledgebase Article number (a Q#####), please
with your message so everyone can read it if they want.
4. Remember your Non-Disclosure Agreements. Issues pertaining
products covered under NDA should not be discussed here,
appropriate Microsoft Newsgroup for these issues. Typically,
product has been released to public beta testing your
to one limiting you from discussing performance characteristics
the product. Please check with your Microsoft representative
Beta Administration if you are at all unsure of your NDA
prior to posting.
This list operates on a confirmation basis. Your subscription,
every message you post to this list will generate a confirmation
message from LISTSERV@RC.ON.CA. This is there for your
to ensure that subscription requests really are from the
individual email address. It is also there to let you
your message prior to it being posted. This is not a configurable
I hope that the list proves useful to you and your organization.
With the REview option turned off, I hope that it will
individuals in organizations who have the ability to address
issues which get raised on this list. I know from personal
experience that having to pay Microsoft US$195 in order
to report a
bug (despite the fact you get a refund 3 or 4 days later)
mean the difference between reporting a bug and not. This
should provide an alternative to that process, and at
time, should allow the rest of the Windows NT community
opportunity both to take up the issue with their own Microsoft
representatives, and protect themselves from the possible
which a SEB might expose them to.
The objective is to get SEB resolution done faster, better,
with less risk to the Windows NT customer than currently
To subscribe to this Listserv, send a message to Listserv@rc.on.ca
SUBSCRIBE NTBUGTRAQ Your Name
SUBSCRIBE NTBUGTRAQ Russ Cooper (for example)
R.C. Consulting, Inc. - NT/Internet Security
*** NT Security Mailing List
This is an unmoderated mailing list discussing Windows
as well as the Windows 95 and Windows For Work Group security
The issues discussed will be everything at the host and
level security as well as at the network level.
This mailing list is for security discussions so please
personal emails offline.
This list is NOT for:
- flamewars of any type
- discussions about NT vs. UNIX
- general administration issues
- bashing Microsoft or other vendors
We expect all list participants to behave in a civil and
professional manner. If you feel the need to engage
please go find the USENET newsgroup of your choice.
If you must
disagree impolitely with another list participant, take
The list owner can be reached at email@example.com
is any problems that need to be addressed.
I have been known to moderate the list when our mail queue
grown too large, or there have been auto-responder messages,
across the list.
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Happy Hacker Digest March 15-16, 1997
Peter Beckman . email@example.com .