Microsoft Windows Vista SP2 and prior and Windows Server 2008 SP2 and prior contain a vulnerability that could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to execute arbitrary code with elevated privileges.
The vulnerability exists due to insufficient boundary restrictions on data within beacon frames that are received via wireless network adapters. An unauthenticated, remote attacker could exploit this vulnerability by transmitting malicious beacon frames within radio range of a vulnerable system. A successful exploit could allow the attacker to execute arbitrary code on the system.
Microsoft has confirmed this vulnerability in a security bulletin and released software updates that correct it.
Indicators of Compromise
Systems running the following versions of Microsoft Windows are vulnerable:
Windows Vista SP2 and prior
Windows Vista x64 Edition SP2 and prior
Windows Server 2008 for 32-bit Systems SP2 and prior
Windows Server 2008 for x64-based Systems SP2 and prior
Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems SP2 and prior
The vulnerability exists due to insufficient boundary restrictions on data within beacon frames that are received via wireless network adapters. Affected Windows systems do not properly sanitize input within the frames before use in memory operations. The processing of overly large frames could trigger a heap overflow, leading to a buffer overflow condition.
An unauthenticated, remote attacker could exploit this vulnerability by transmitting wireless network frames from a malicious system within radio range of a vulnerable host. If the vulnerable system processes the malicious frames, a heap overflow may occur, causing memory corruption that the attacker could leverage to execute arbitrary code.
Only systems with wireless network adapters are vulnerable to exploitation. Additionally, an attacker must be within adjacent network radio range in order to send malicious wireless communications to a target system. If an exploit is successful, the attacker could execute arbitrary code and gain complete control over the vulnerable system.
The update available from Microsoft corrects this vulnerability by ensuring proper validation of wireless beacon frames.
Administrators are advised to apply the available software update.
Administrators may consider disabling wireless network cards on production systems. Users are advised to disable wireless network cards when not in use.
Administrators are advised to monitor critical systems.
Microsoft has released a security bulletin at the following link: MS09-049
Microsoft customers can obtain updates directly by using the links in the security bulletin. These updates are also distributed by Windows automatic update features and available on the Windows Update website. Microsoft Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Systems Management Server, and System Center Configuration Manager can assist administrators in deploying software updates.
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Cisco Multivendor Vulnerability Alerts respond to vulnerabilities identified in third-party vendors' products. These alerts contain information compiled from diverse sources and provide comprehensive technical descriptions, objective analytical assessments, workarounds and practical safeguards, and links to vendor advisories and patches.