Privilege escalation vulnerability targets Windows XP and Server 2003

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Nov 28, 2013

Vulnerability being used in the wild in combination with exploit of patched Adobe Reader vulnerability.

Researchers at FireEye have discovered a new privilege escalation vulnerability affecting Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 that is being used in the wild.

For those US-based system administrators who were hoping to spend the Thanksgiving weekend away from their networks, Microsoft has bad news. The company has issued an advisory on a new zero-day vulnerability that has been discovered in a kernel component of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

The vulnerability, which has been assigned the CVE number CVE-2013-5065, allows a local user to execute commands with the privileges of an administrator. It does not allow for remote code to be executed on the machine, but for an attacker who is able to do so using another vulnerability, or through social engineering, it will be rather valuable.

Researchers at FireEye, who discovered the vulnerability, say it is being used in the wild together with an exploit against a vulnerability in Adobe Reader. That vulnerability, however, has been patched in the latest Reader versions.

Apart from making sure the Adobe Reader version one uses is up to date, Microsoft encourages users to deploy a simple workaround.

Of course, upgrading to a newer version of Windows is a more permanent solution to this vulnerability, especially because no more patches for Windows XP will be issued after April 2014 (Windows Server 2003 will continue to receive patches until July 2015). However, for various reasons, many organisations say they are not able to make the upgrade. In light of this, it may not come as a surprise that a poll run on this website shows that three out of four visitors support Google's decision to extend support for its Chrome browser on Windows XP beyond the operating system's end-of-life.

Posted on 28 November 2013 by Martijn Grooten

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