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Hacker Pours Cold Water on Windows Server 2008 Security Design




Hacker Pours Cold Water on Windows Server 2008 Security Design
Hacker Pours Cold Water on Windows Server 2008 Security Design



http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Security/Hacker-Pours-Cold-Water-on-Windows-Server-2008-Security-Design/ 

By Ryan Naraine
eWEEK.com
2008-03-27 

Argeniss founder Cesar Cerrudo has found serious design weaknesses that 
could allow a skilled hacker to take complete control of the operating 
system.

A hacker picking apart the security model of Microsoft's brand new 
Windows Server 2008 has found serious design weaknesses that render some 
of the product's new security protections "useless."

Cesar Cerrudo, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Argeniss 
Information Security, in Parana, Argentina, says the weaknesses could 
lead to privilege escalation attacks opens the door for a skilled hacker 
to take complete control of the operating system.

"[We found] from design issues that were not identified by Microsoft 
engineers during the Security Development Lifecycle, and allows accounts 
commonly used by Windows services.NETWORK SERVICE and LOCAL SERVICE.to 
bypass new Windows services protection mechanisms and elevate 
privileges, Cerrudo said.

He said the discovery also affects Internet Information Services 7 in 
the default configuration, allowing ASP.NET applications to "completely 
compromise" operating system security.

Cerrudo, a security researcher who is highly regarded for his work on 
database security, said the problem also afects Windows Vista, Windows 
XP and Windows 2003.

"On Windows XP and Windows 2003 the problem is especially severe since 
any Windows service, even when running under a low privileged account, 
can potentially break through the security protections and fully 
compromise the operating system. This includes all web applications 
deployed on Internet Information Services 6," he added.

Cerrudo declined to provide technical details of the attack scenarios.  
He plans to discuss the issue at the upcoming Hack in the Box Conference 
in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

In that talk, entitled Token Kidnapping, Cerrudo said he will explain 
how it is possible in Windows XP and 2003 to elevate privileges to LOCAL 
SYSTEM from any process that has impersonation rights.


Vulnerable, but Still an Improvement

In Windows Vista and Windows 2008, he plans to show how to elevate 
privileges to LOCAL SYSTEM from processes running under NETWORK SERVICE 
and LOCAL SERVICE accounts.

At the Hack in the Box conference, Cerrudo said he will demonstrate 
zero-day code for elevating privileges in SQL Server and Microsoft's 
Internet Information Services.

Even as he set out to pour cold water on the design weaknesses, Cerrudo 
said his audit found that Windows Server 2008 was "generally more secure 
than previous versions."

Microsoft has touted Windows Server 2008 as its "most secure server" to 
date, featuring architectural and defense-in-depth protections similar 
to those fitted into Windows Vista.

The operating system has been hardened to help protect against failure 
and several new technologies help prevent unauthorized connections to 
networks, servers, data, and user accounts.

It comes with NAP (Network Access Protection) to handle health checks; 
enhancements to make Active Directory services a unified and integrated 
IDA (Identity and Access) solution; and (RODC) Read-Only Domain 
Controller and BitLocker Drive Encryption to allow users to securely 
deploy Active Directory databases.


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