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Print 30 comment(s) - last by Siki.. on Aug 8 at 1:40 AM


StatsCounter claims Windows 7 (yellow) has just surpassed Windows Vista (green). Windows XP (blue, top) is still far ahead.  (Source: StatsCounter)
It's security panics and deja vu all over again for Microsoft

Windows 7 is arguably one of Microsoft's greatest achievements to date.  However, the company's OS is far from impervious, despite its free antivirus/malware protection suite, beefed up memory protections, and numerous security tweaks.

Today Microsoft will release an "out of band" emergency patch to try to lock out a highly dangerous new family of malware that's attacking Windows 7 via a vulnerability in .LNK files. 

LNK files are more commonly known as shortcuts.  You often see shortcuts on your desktop.  Clicking them runs programs in the Windows Shell (Microsoft's graphical layout in Windows and its supporting backend).  However, shortcuts can also be autorun, under certain conditions, when USB sticks or MP3 players newly connect to a machine.  The problem is that the autorun can be used to start an attack process, if the LNK file is a malicious attack package coordinator.

The vulnerability presumably existed in Windows for a long time, but only recently has been widely published in the hacking community.  Some hackers have created a new family of viruses called Sality, that are designed specially to exploit the vulnerability.

According to Microsoft's Malware Protection Center, "Sality is a highly virulent strain.  It is known to infect other files, making full removal after infection challenging, copy itself to removable media, disable security and then download other malware."

Christopher Budd, spokesman for the Microsoft Security Response Center, states, "We're able to confirm that, in the past few days, we've seen an increase in attempts to exploit the vulnerability.  We firmly believe that releasing the update out of band is the best thing to do to help protect our customers."

As of press time the patch does not appear to be live.  The Microsoft Knowledge Base article for the problem can be found here and a workaround lives here.

In other Windows 7 news, according to market researchers StatsCounter the new OS has finally surpassed its predecessor, Windows Vista.  Windows Vista never managed to pass Windows XP, the current market leader.  However, StatsCounter's numbers show Windows 7 market share soaring and Windows XP market share in an equally steady fall.

If those numbers give you deja vu, you're not going crazy.  Back in May, Janco Associates -- another market research troop -- reported that Windows 7 had passed Windows Vista internationally.  According to StatsCounter's research, though, this is the first month Windows 7 came out on top.  Its current numbers show Windows XP with 54.89 percent, Windows 7 with 19.56 percent, Windows Vista with 18.82 percent, Mac OS X with 5 percent, and Linux with 0.74 percent.


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Released but not released?
By NorthernYankee on 8/2/2010 10:48:35 AM , Rating: 2
Title says "Microsoft Releases Emergency Windows 7 Patch, Windows 7 Passes Vista" but then the article goes on to say "As of press time the patch does not appear to be live".

So then really MS hasn't released anything but are "preparing" to release an emergency patch.




RE: Released but not released?
By maevinj on 8/2/2010 11:40:39 AM , Rating: 3
Actually it says Microsoft TO release Emergency Windows 7 Patch


RE: Released but not released?
By NorthernYankee on 8/2/2010 12:08:42 PM , Rating: 2
It has been updated since I posted.


RE: Released but not released?
By Mitch101 on 8/2/2010 12:58:24 PM , Rating: 2
Its really two articles in one. Should have been separate.


RE: Released but not released?
By maevinj on 8/2/2010 2:18:04 PM , Rating: 5
I think Daily Tech should have to post a change log on their articles, so we can see everytime they change the article.


RE: Released but not released?
By adiposity on 8/2/2010 3:43:49 PM , Rating: 5
Jason loves to make silent corrections to the articles. I can't say I really mind too much, but sometimes it leads to these kinds of conversations where someone is like, "but, but, it was wrong before!"

Perhaps a "update: fixed blah blah blah" would be appropriate.


RE: Released but not released?
By afkrotch on 8/4/2010 2:33:52 AM , Rating: 2
Or maybe he can just proofread the crap before posting it. Me, I just make comments, so to hell with proofreading.


RE: Released but not released?
By adiposity on 8/2/2010 3:44:07 PM , Rating: 2
Jason loves to make silent corrections to the articles. I can't say I really mind too much, but sometimes it leads to these kinds of conversations where someone is like, "but, but, it was wrong before!"

Perhaps a "update: fixed blah blah blah" would be appropriate.


RE: Released but not released?
By Siki on 8/8/2010 1:40:42 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry that you are upset about this. Maybe you should get a life.


At least...
By MrBlastman on 8/2/2010 11:07:44 AM , Rating: 5
Microsoft acknowledges security problems/flaws and releases updates to fix them... something Apple almost never does.




RE: At least...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/2010 11:16:47 AM , Rating: 5
Oh they do it. Just months later and for a fee.


RE: At least...
By Hieyeck on 8/6/2010 9:13:04 AM , Rating: 2
No they don't. They provide "updates to surprise features".


RE: At least...
By Tony Swash on 8/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: At least...
By chick0n on 8/2/2010 11:16:39 PM , Rating: 3
I just gonna say it in your face Tony retard Swash.

F-U, and F-Apple.

Its true that they don't update their shit, they just deny, deny, and deny. that way Apple will be "problem-Free" correct?

Apple is garbage. bite me now. alright ?


RE: At least...
By B3an on 8/3/2010 4:00:13 AM , Rating: 2
Tony is becoming the new Reader1/pirks. I think Tony is pretty old too, great example of how immature and stupid Apple users are even after many years of being on this planet.


RE: At least...
By Tony Swash on 8/3/2010 6:10:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I think Tony is pretty old


I am 21. At least that what my brain says - I just have to stay away from mirrors :)

Don't take this stuff so personally. Life's too short.

I spent the day hiking up the West Fork of Oak Creek near Sedona (some say the best hike in Arizona) so I am feeling especially calm and relaxed today even when people say rude things to me. Keep well guys.


RE: At least...
By frobizzle on 8/4/2010 10:28:42 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I am 21. At least that what my brain says

Is that age or IQ?


RE: At least...
By Hieyeck on 8/6/2010 9:15:24 AM , Rating: 2
Has to be IQ, it's what his brain said you know.


RE: At least...
By afkrotch on 8/4/2010 2:46:47 AM , Rating: 1
So what kind of award does Apple get when they try to shift the blame onto other companies?

"We aren't the only ones with a crappy antenna on our phones. Look at Motorola, HTC, etc."


Turn off AUto-run?
By damianrobertjones on 8/2/2010 4:30:10 PM , Rating: 4
Start, Control Panel. View by category

Hardware and Sound

Autoplay, remove tick, save. Done

MS should damn well disable autorun and get it over and done with. Remove another area where people might get infected.




RE: Turn off AUto-run?
By ekv on 8/3/2010 2:36:01 AM , Rating: 2
meh. Too easy.

8)


RE: Turn off AUto-run?
By funkyd99 on 8/3/2010 11:07:07 AM , Rating: 2
Just browsing the directory in Windows Explorer will allow the program to run... this was mentioned in the original DT article but not this one...


Does it require stupidity to propagate?
By Suntan on 8/2/2010 12:05:09 PM , Rating: 3
I wish articles claiming eminent calamity from malware would just put a disclaimer in the first sentence of the article to clarify the new threat. Is it something new that can tunnel through your firewall and infect your PC without any action taken by the operator, or does it require a person to be stupid and load up/click on something of questionable background.

Would save the rest of us the time of reading further.

-Suntan




By bupkus on 8/2/2010 1:04:38 PM , Rating: 3
Agreed. I believe most anti-virus software already has a rating system based on degree of threat.
This is, however, a new type of threat albeit based on an old vulnerability.

I'm no expert on viruses so would exploits not be something anti-virus software would even be looking for?


Desperate
By bhieb on 8/2/2010 11:45:28 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The vulnerability presumably existed in Windows for a long time, but only recently has been widely published in the hacking community.
This is a good sign. Essentially this is the modern equivalent of embedding code in the boot partition of a floppy. If the hackers are having to stoop back to this method (basically physical delivery), then maybe we are approaching an end to malware (of course as long as there are stupid people it will never go away completely).




RE: Desperate
By bupkus on 8/2/2010 12:56:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
of course as long as there are stupid people it will never go away completely
My first impression upon reading this quote was that MS should offer two different OS's, one for the casual user and one for the geek/professional/IT people. Then I remembered that that was already done in the Home vs Professional versions, differentiated by remote controls and I suppose other security vs convenience functionality.


RE: Desperate
By afkrotch on 8/4/2010 2:50:33 AM , Rating: 1
Home vs Professional. That's the dumbest crap ever. I have Win 7 Home Premium and Win 7 Pro. The options like language packs, which I figure would be in the Professional version, no longer there. Pro wasn't suppose to have the media center capabilities, no. It has it there by default.

I'm not sure what is suppose to be different between Home Premium and Professional. All I know is the professional shit I was expecting has since been removed.


Patch now on Windows Update
By DesertCat on 8/2/2010 1:40:09 PM , Rating: 3
Just downloaded this patch (Win7-64) so it's live now.




Just an idea, Microsoft
By monkeyman1140 on 8/5/2010 5:44:21 PM , Rating: 2
Why not hire a group of hackers whose only job it to probe the OS and find weaknesses? So they're patched before anybody knew there was a vulnerability?




Reassociate .LNK file.
By Mitch101 on 8/2/2010 12:56:08 PM , Rating: 1
All you have to do is Re-Associate .LNK file with nothing or some neutral application and its not an issue until a patch comes along.




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