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  Future problems?
Microsoft Posted by Beat Rubischon on Sunday February 15, @04:30PM
from the a-hot-summer-in-front-of-us dept.
We still discover one to two hacked Windows machines per week in the Departement of Physics and the next problems are rising. What could you do to help us? Short answer: Keep your systems up to date. Read on for the long answer.

First of all, we assume that a worm or virus will use the ASN.1 parsing problem from last week. It's difficult to say if there will be a worm like Blaster and Nachi or a email based virus like Mydoom. Everything is possible - ASN.1 is used in several places of the system.

Be sure to install the latest patches on Windows NT, 2000, XP and 2003. Windows 9x is no longer supported and should no longer be used to read mails and browse the web! On the other hand, Windows 9x contains no services and should be safe in special cases.

The leakage of parts of the Windows 2000 sourcecode is a greate chance to discover security related problems. It will be just a question which group will be faster - the good security experts posting in BUGTRAQ or the black hats programming exploits?

Internet explorer contains also several "interesting" problems. First, it's possible to access the clipboard out of a webpage. This means, that every webdesigner may write a page which reads out the content of your clipboard. You may switch this off: To close this hole in ~7 clicks: Tools, Internet Options, Security, Internet Zone, Custom Level, Scripting, Allow paste options via scripting -> Disable.

A second problem in IE was discovered last week: DLL proxy attack. There is an API integrated in IE which allows to put a DLL between the browser and the world. This DLL may be a part of a virus and listen to all communication between you and your bank. Not a funny option...

We will do our best to keep you informed about future problems. Visit this page regularly or subscribe our newsletter. Feel free to contact us to find alternatives to Windows - not every system may be replaced by Linux or MacOS X, but thinking about this topic will be the first step. Migrations are also possible in small steps: Mozilla as a replacement for IE, OpenOffice as a replacement for Microsoft Office. Several OpenSource programs are allready available on Linux, MacOS X and Windows. Or the other way round: CrossOver, VMware, Wine or Bochs to support Windows applications on Linux and Virtual PC to emulate a PC on MacOS X. We have experience in those programs and could discuss with you about such solutions.

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  • The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them.
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    Re: Future problems?
    by Beat Rubischon on Monday February 16, @02:16PM
    A nice overview of found security problems in the windows operating system: eEye Digital Security. All of them are reported to Microsoft but still unpatched.
    [ Reply to this ]
    The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them.
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    © 2003 ISG, Departement Physik, ETH Zürich, <>