Menu
Vista firewall easily tricked, claims Symantec

Vista firewall easily tricked, claims Symantec

Windows Vista's firewall can easily be subverted because of design decisions made by Microsoft a researcher at Symantec claimed last week.

Orlando Padilla, a Symantec security response team member who authored a study released this week on how well Vista stands up to current malware, took the new operating system's firewall to task in a blog.

"[The firewall] poses a great limitation for malicious code looking to backdoor a host," said Padilla in the entry. "Unfortunately, the Unblock button may be accessed with the same privilege level as a standard user. This configuration of privileges creates a point of vulnerability that undermines the effectiveness of the firewall's policy in Windows Vista."

Padilla was unavailable for comment, but Javier Santoyo, manager of development in Symantec's research group, explained. "Subverting a firewall is nothing new, but Microsoft, with Vista and User Account Control [UAC], had the ability to strengthen the firewall." The company didn't take that opportunity, he said.

The problem, according to Santoyo, is that while Vista's firewall blocks all third-party and untrusted network traffic unless the user clicks the Unblock button, it's not hard for attackers to code their malware so that the software surreptitiously clicks the button. The SendMessage API call can be used to automate that function, said Padilla.

Microsoft could have guaranteed that only a click by a real live user would unblock the firewall for an application requesting Internet access. "They could have coded it so only an interactive user could click the button," he said. It's possible that rival firewall vendors may take up the approach, Santoyo said.

The motivation for tricking Vista into allowing malware access to the Internet is plain. "They could then download other malicious code" or hide the command-and-control traffic between an infected PC and the hacker using the machine as a spam zombie or denial-of-service attacker, said Santoyo.

Microsoft officials could not be reached for comment.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.

Tags vistasymantec

Featured

Slideshows

Bumper channel crowd kicks off first After Hours of 2018

Bumper channel crowd kicks off first After Hours of 2018

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar with a bumper crowd of partners, distributors and vendors descending on The Jefferson in Auckland to kick-start 2018. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Bumper channel crowd kicks off first After Hours of 2018
Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017

In 2017, merger and acquisitions fever reached new heights in New Zealand, with a host of big name deals dominating the headlines. Reseller News recaps the most important transactions of the Kiwi channel during the past 12 months.

Looking back at the top 15 M&A deals in NZ during 2017
Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours

The channel in New Zealand came together to celebrate the close of 2017, as the final After Hours played out in front of a bumper Auckland crowd.

Kiwi channel closes 2017 with After Hours
Show Comments