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Microsoft warns of critical Windows flaw

Jul 10, 20036 mins

* Patches from Mandrake Linux, Debian, others * Beware latest Windows worm * New site spoofs PayPal to get billing information, and other interesting reading

A Network World Fusion user wrote in looking for help with Windows 2000 SP4 problem:

“I’m having problems finding any info on solving a problem I have relating to an error when I open add/remove programs on my Windows 2000 Professional PC, this happened when I updated my service pack to Service Pack 4 and while searching on MSN I noticed you wrote a resolution to a service pack problem and was hoping you could help or point me in the right direction.

The error message reads:

An Unexpected error occurred.

Object doesn’t support this property or method


Line: 82

All I know is this is a Service Pack 3 message. I found this out in the DLL Help Database at Microsoft but they don’t offer any help as to how to solve it.”

If you’ve got any ideas on a fix for this, drop me a line at

Today’s bug patches and security alerts:

Microsoft warns of critical Windows flaw

Microsoft warned of a critical security flaw Wednesday that affects all supported versions of its Windows operating system and could enable a remote attacker to run malicious code on unpatched Windows systems. The security hole is due to a buffer overrun vulnerability in the Windows HTML converter, a Windows component that enables Windows to convert files from Rich Text Format (RTF) to HTML, which is used to display documents on the Web. IDG News Service, 07/09/03.


Microsoft advisory:

Microsoft reports flaw in Windows Message Handling

A flaw in the way the Windows 2000 Accessibility Utility Manager interprets Windows Messages could be exploited by a malicious user to gain elevated privileges on the affected machine. The Accessibility options are used to make the operating system easier to use for those with disabilities. For more, go to:

Related NGSSoftware advisory:

Microsoft warns of data corruption vulnerability in Windows NT/2000/XP

A buffer overflow in Windows NT/2000/XP Server Message Block (SMB), an protocol for sharing files, printers and ports as well as communicate between computers on the Internet, could be exploited to corrupt data on the infected machine. In some cases the flaw could be used to run arbitrary code on the machine. For more, go to:


Cisco warns of DoS vulnerability in CatOS

A flaw in Cisco’s CatOS, the operating system for its Catalyst switches, could be exploited in a denial-of-service attack. If the switch receives eight TCP connection attempts that use non-standard TCP flag combinations, the device will stop responding to subsequent requests until it is rebooted. For more, go to:


Mandrake Linux, Debian patch unzip vulnerability

A flaw in Version 5.50 and earlier of unzip could allow arbitrary files to be overwritten. This could allow malicious code to be placed on the affected machine. For more, go to:

Mandrake Linux:



Debian issues patch for x-face-el

A flaw in the way x-face-el, a decoder for images included inline in X-Face email headers, creates temporary files could be exploited by a malicious user to overwrite certain files with the privileges of emacs and x-face-el. For more, go to:

Debian patches semi, wemi

Flaws in semi and wemi, MIME libraries for GNU emacs, could lead to temporary files being created in an insecure manner. This vulnerability could be exploited to overwrite arbitrary files on the affected machine. For more, go to:

Debian patches liece

Liece, a IRC client for emacs, creates non-secure temporary files that could be exploited to overwrite arbitrary files on the affected machine. For more, go to:

File execution security flaw in mozart patched by Debian

According to an alert from Debian, “Mozart, a development platform based on the Oz language, includes MIME configuration data which specifies that Oz applications should be passed to the Oz interpreter for execution.  This means that file managers, web browsers, and other programs which honor the mailcap file could automatically execute Oz programs downloaded from untrusted sources.” For more, go to:


Conectiva patches imp

A flaw in the way imp, a Web mail system that uses SQL, stores certain user information could be exploited by a malicious to gain session IDs and access to other Webmail user accounts. For more, go to:

Conectiva issues php4 update

Version 4.3.2 of php4, the popular scripting language for Web sites, is now available for Conectiva users. This release fixes a number of bugs and minor security flaws found in previous releases. For more, go to:


Red Hat releases new redhat-config-printer packages

A number of bugs have been fixes in Red Hat’s printer configuration packages. For more, go to:

Updated print-queue manager packages available from Red Hat

A bug in the print-queue manager package for Red Hat resulted in unordered lists of print jobs. A fix is available. For more, go to:


Today’s roundup of virus alerts:

W32/Graps-A – Another of those Windows worms that attempts to exploit weak or no passwords on shared network drives. The virus does contain backdoor functionality that could allow a malicious user access to the infected system. (Sophos)

XM/Laroux-Fam – A cousin of similar Word macro virus, this family of viruses infects Excel 95 files. No word on any permanent damage caused. (Sophos)

WM97/ZWMVC-B – A Word macro virus that infects the VBA module. It displays the message “Yet Again Porn Error” every time a document is opened. (Sophos)


From the interesting reading department:

Don’t wait for the government to secure cyberspace

If you’re waiting for the government to secure cyberspace, it’s going to be a while. During a recent CSO roundtable in Boston, Richard Clarke, former special adviser to the president for cyberspace security, said that chief security officers looking for the federal government to take the lead on cybersecurity should look elsewhere. IDG News Service, 07/09/03.

New site spoofs PayPal to get billing information

A new Web site spoofs the PayPal online payment site and attempts to trick PayPal customers into divulging sensitive account and billing information. The fake Web site is the latest example in what security experts say is a rising trend of “brandspoofing” scams. IDG News Service, 07/09/03.

IBM PCs add extra security to Adobe Acrobat 6.0

Adobe Systems has tweaked the cryptography features in its Acrobat 6.0 software to let users take advantage of a security chip included with IBM’s newer notebook and desktop computers, the companies said Thursday. IDG News Service, 07/10/03.