Hackers have publicly released new attack code that exploits a critical bug in the Windows operating system, putting pressure on Microsoft to fix the flaw before it leads to a worm outbreak.
The vulnerability has been known since Sept. 7, but until today the publicly available programs that leverage it to attack PCs haven’t been able to do more than crash the operating system. A new attack, developed by Harmony Security Senior Researcher Stephen Fewer, lets the attacker run unauthorized software on the computer, in theory making it a much more serious problem. Fewer’s code was added to the open-source Metasploit penetration testing kit on Monday.
Two weeks ago, a small software company called Immunity developed its own attack code for the bug, but that code is available only to the company’s paying subscribers. Metasploit, by contrast, can be downloaded by anyone, meaning the attack code is now much more widely available.