A better, more reliable, work-around for the Microsoft Video Control Vulnerability

For the past few days I've been following the Microsoft Video Control Vulnerability with interest. Basically, it's another vulnerable ActiveX control that needs killbitted. Last night, Microsoft posted a work-around which involves using a Group Policy ADM template (ADM is the template format that was deprecated in Vista and Windows Server 2008). Unfortunately, the template tattoos the registry, which is not really recommended. I contemplated for a while writing a work-around for this issue, but then remembered that I actually did; almost three years ago. The workaround I wrote then, for another ActiveX vulnerability will not tattoo the registry, and … Continue reading A better, more reliable, work-around for the Microsoft Video Control Vulnerability

You need to manually undo your MS08-078 mitigations

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What I Learned from Attending the Windows Launch Event Today

Today I attended the Microsoft 2008 server wave launch event in Seattle. In the process I learned a number of things: The launch event apparently does not need to coincide with actually launching anything. Server 2008 launched a couple of months ago. Visual Studio 2008 launched in November 2007, and SQL Server 2008, the third part of the tri-fecta that comprised the launch, will not actually launch until the third quarter this year. The primary purpose of launch events is apparently to get free junk, and in some cases, other stuff, from a collection of vendors you have never heard … Continue reading What I Learned from Attending the Windows Launch Event Today

Resource Kit Done!

Last Friday the last of the Windows Server 2008 Security Resource Kit finally went to press! This was a project I had not really planned and so, to complete it in time, I brought in an amazing crew of co-authors. Together, we managed to put together 17 chapters on how to manage security in one of the most exciting products this year.  The contributors to the Security Resource Kit are: Jimmy Andersson – Principal Advisor at Q Advice AB and Microsoft Active Directory MVP Susan Bradley – Small Business Server MVP Darren Canavor – Software Architect in the Windows Security group … Continue reading Resource Kit Done!

IE’s hidden buttons

Even having used Internet Explorer 7 for about 18 months, I just discovered something new. IE has a hidden status bar, with four security-related buttons on it: Right next to where the zone is shown are a series of six boxes. I always figured it was some UI anomaly caused by the fact that the would occasionally display some status in one of them: the phishing filter status while the page is loading. However, it turns out that four of the six are actually buttons. If you click the right-most one you get the Phishing Filter settings. Double-click the next one … Continue reading IE’s hidden buttons

Do Vista Users Need Fewer Security Patches Than XP Users?

On January 23, Jeff Jones, Director of Security at Microsoft, published his “One Year Vulnerability Report” for Windows Vista. In the report, he analyzed whether Windows Vista had fewer vulnerabilities in its first year than it’s predecessor, Windows XP had in its first year. Jeff also compared Vista to Red Hat, Ubuntu, and Mac OS and how they did in their first year. Predictably, the report has generated the expected amount of controversy. Thomas Claburn, of Information Week, promptly wrote an article about it, which, in my summary, essentially says “Microsoft makes up statistics to show that Vista is secure. Nobody … Continue reading Do Vista Users Need Fewer Security Patches Than XP Users?

Using Autoplay on Vista To Stop Attacks

The January issue of TechNet Magazine has an article I wrote about how to hack a system using autoplaying USB flash drives. While it is not possible to stop all attacks from USB tokens, Vista does include some interesting protective measures. However, the autoplay decision flow in Vista is quite convoluted, so I wrote a flowchart to explain it all. Full details are in the article.

Need a laptop with a TPM?

For the third time in a week someone asked the question "If I want to use BitLocker with a Trusted Platforms Module (TPM), which computer should I get?" Wonderful question. For some reason, the hardvare vendors seem to treat the TPM chip as the ugly stepchild that they do their best to ensure nobody knows they have. Som even ship with the chip disabled in the BIOS by default. And, if you want to find out whether a particular computer has one, be prepared to read long and geeky tech specs, looking for keywords like "TPM 1.1", or, if the … Continue reading Need a laptop with a TPM?