Microsoft has released an advisory confirming a previously unknown vulnerability in the way Windows processes shortcut files. The critical bug is trivial to exploit, affects all versions of Windows and allows for arbitrary code execution.

The vulnerability (CVE-2010-2568) came to Microsoft’s attention after Belarusian antivirus vendor VirusBlokAda discovered a new piece of USB malware that was actively exploiting it in the wild. The bug allows an attacker to create a special shortcut file (.lnk), that will execute an executable, when the folder containing it is opened in Windows Explorer, or another file manager able to process shortcut icons.

The Microsoft advisory is a bit confusing, the “Executive Summary” section stating that “malicious code may be executed when the user clicks the displayed icon of a specially crafted shortcut. More »

The Security Development Lifecycle is in no way synonymous with Microsoft’s entire span of efforts designed to bulletproof its software products and consumer environments. An illustrative example of this is the Microsoft Security Assessment Tool 4.0. Built as the evolution of Microsoft Security Risk Self-Assessment Tool (MSRSAT) dating back to 2004 and that of the Microsoft Security Assessment Tool 2.0 dropped in 2006, the Security Assessment Tool 4.0 is a free download which will integrate seamlessly with Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2003 in order to evaluate the level of risk in an IT infrastructure and provide the necessary best practices data and guidance.

“The tool employs a holistic approach to measuring your security posture by covering topics across people, process, and technology. Findings are coupled with prescriptive guidance and recommended mitigation efforts, including links to more information for additional industry guidance. These resources may assist you in keeping you aware of specific tools and methods that can help change the security posture of your IT environment. More »