Microsoft Releases Patches for a Critical Windows Flaw Allowing WannaCry-Style Attacks

The update is shipped to Windows 10 version 1809

Computers which use Network Level Authentication (NLA) are partially protected, Microsoft said, but an attacker with valid credentials could still exploit the vulnerability.

Any "future malware that exploits this vulnerability could propagate from vulnerable computer to vulnerable computer in a similar way as the WannaCry malware spread across the globe", Microsoft said Tuesday in a blog post.

There is now no indication that the flaw is already being exploited, but Microsoft said it is "highly likely" that malicious actors will soon write an exploit to incorporate it into malware.

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As such, the software heavyweight is urging that "affected systems are patched as quickly as possible to prevent such a scenario from happening". Microsoft is even making fixes available for out-of-support versions XP and Windows 2003, such is the potential threat.

The flaw doesn't affect Microsoft's more recent operating systems, such as Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, or Windows Server 2019. Four handle remote code execution vulnerabilties in the Windows dynamic host control protocol (DHCP) server that assigns internet protocol addresses to clients, as well as flaws in the GDI+ graphics rendering component and Microsoft Word. While machines running Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2008 are vulnerable, in-support systems and patches for these versions can be found in the Microsoft Security Update Guide. "It is for these reasons that we strongly advise that all affected systems - irrespective of whether NLA is enabled or not - should be updated as soon as possible", Pope said. Attackers exploiting the vulnerability can run arbitrary code in kernel mode, allowing them to install programs, access, modify and delete data and make new accounts with Administrator privileges.

The researchers from the universities in Australia, the United States, Belgium, Austria and CSIRO's Data 61 unit noted that newer Coffee Lake Refresh i9 processors are ironically enough more vulnerable to Fallout compared to older parts, due to Intel's countermeasures against the earlier Meltdown speculative execution information leak flaw. Among the fixes is that for CVE-2019-0708, a "wormable" RDP flaw that is expected to be weaponised by attackers very soon. That vulnerability affects both Mac and Windows systems.

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