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TUCoPS :: Windows Net Apps :: ciach068.txt

Windows95 Network Password Vulnerability




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************************  FOR PUBLIC RELEASE *****************************
             __________________________________________________________

                       The U.S. Department of Energy
                    Computer Incident Advisory Capability
                           ___  __ __    _     ___
                          /       |     /_\   /
                          \___  __|__  /   \  \___
             __________________________________________________________

                             INFORMATION BULLETIN

                    Windows 95 Network Password Vulnerability

June 4, 1997 20:00 GMT                                             Number H-68
______________________________________________________________________________
PROBLEM:       A vulnerability has been identified in the way Windows 95
               network passwords are stored in memory on the local machine.
PLATFORM:      All systems running Microsoft Windows 95.
DAMAGE:        This vulnerability can lead to unauthorized access to a user's
               network account.
SOLUTION:      Apply the necessary patches indicated below.
______________________________________________________________________________
VULNERABILITY  Information about this vulnerability is widely distributed.
ASSESSMENT:                                                                  
______________________________________________________________________________

[ Start AUSCERT Advisory ]

===========================================================================
AA-97.25                        AUSCERT Advisory
                   Windows95 Network Password Vulnerability
                                  3 June 1997

Last Revised: --

- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

AUSCERT has received information that a vulnerability exists in the way
that network passwords are stored in memory by Microsoft Windows95 systems.
This vulnerability may allow the unauthorised access to the plain text
password for the currently logged in user.  This can lead to unauthorised
access to the user's network account.

Microsoft has released a security bulletin, containing patch information,
addressing the vulnerability.  These patches encrypt the passwords stored
in memory.  The security bulletin and patches are described in this
advisory.

- ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

1.  Description

    A vulnerability exists in the way that network passwords are stored
    in memory by Microsoft Windows95 systems.  This vulnerability may
    allow unauthorised access to the plain text password for the currently
    logged in user.  Although the password is encrypted before sending it
    over a network, it is stored unencrypted in the system's memory.
    Access to the password for the currently logged in user is possible
    through careful examination of memory structures.  It is possible to
    develop a program to simplify this attack.

    To obtain the password currently stored in memory, a program must be
    executed on the system.  This can be done by either gaining physical
    access to the computer or misleading the user into executing the
    program.  These actions must be performed while the network user is
    still logged in.

    The user can be misled into running a malicious program by downloading
    untrusted information from the Internet, or by some other means such
    as embedding the malicious program in a Macro contained in a file that
    gets executed when the file is opened by the user.  This file may be
    sent to the user as an attachment to an electronic mail message.

2.  Impact

    Unauthorised access may be gained to the network password of the user
    logged in to a Windows95 system.

    This can lead to unauthorised access to the user's network account
    using the compromised password.

3.  Workarounds/Solution

    Official vendor patches have been released by Microsoft which address
    this vulnerability (Section 3.1).  AUSCERT recommends that sites apply
    the patches given in this bulletin immediately.

3.1 Install vendor patches

    Microsoft has released a security bulletin, containing patch
    information, addressing the vulnerability described in this advisory.
    This bulletin can be located on their security page on Microsoft's
    Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/security/ and is titled "Microsoft
    Windows 95 Update to Enhance Password Security".

    Additionally, a Microsoft Knowledge Base article has been developed
    by Microsoft detailing more information about this problem and
    associated fixes.  It can be located by going to Microsoft Australia's
    home page (http://www.microsoft.com.au) and following the links to
    "Support", and then to "Knowledge Base".  The specific Knowledge Base
    article to search for is Q165402.  This article can also be referenced
    as http://www.microsoft.com/kb/articles/q165/4/02.htm

    Both the bulletin and the Knowledge Base article contain pointers to
    patches that can be downloaded.

    AUSCERT recommends that sites apply the patches given in this bulletin
    immediately.

4.  Additional Measures

    To gain access to the user's password, the user must first be logged
    in to the network from a Windows95 system using their account and
    password.  The password is obtained by either someone running a program
    on the system, or a program must be executed by the user or on the
    user's behalf.  Executing a program can be done by either gaining
    physical access to the system or misleading the user into running an
    untrusted program.  The user can be misled into running a malicious
    program by downloading untrusted information from the Internet, or by
    some other means such as embedding the malicious program in a Macro
    contained in a file that gets executed when the file is opened by the
    user.  This file may be sent to the user as an attachment to an
    electronic mail message.

    Educating users can address each of these scenarios.  The ability to
    exploit this vulnerability can be reduced if unauthorised access to
    the system, while the user is still logged in, can be minimised or
    eliminated.  One way this can be achieved is if each user logs off
    from the network any time they leave the computer for reasonable
    periods of time, or runs a password protected screen saver.

    Users should also be educated not to run untrusted programs that have
    been given to them on disk or via Email, or downloaded from a network.
    Email attachments should be scanned for any unauthorised macros.

- - ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
AUSCERT thanks the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Microsoft for their
assistance and response in the preparation of this Advisory.
n ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
n
[ End AUSCERT Advisories ]
______________________________________________________________________________

CIAC wishes to acknowledge the contributions of AUSCERT, the Australian Bureau
of Statistics, and Microsoft for the information contained in this bulletin.
______________________________________________________________________________


CIAC, the Computer Incident Advisory Capability, is the computer
security incident response team for the U.S. Department of Energy
(DOE) and the emergency backup response team for the National
Institutes of Health (NIH). CIAC is located at the Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory in Livermore, California. CIAC is also a founding
member of FIRST, the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams, a
global organization established to foster cooperation and coordination
among computer security teams worldwide.

CIAC services are available to DOE, DOE contractors, and the NIH. CIAC
can be contacted at:
    Voice:    +1 510-422-8193
    FAX:      +1 510-423-8002
    STU-III:  +1 510-423-2604
    E-mail:   ciac@llnl.gov

For emergencies and off-hour assistance, DOE, DOE contractor sites,
and the NIH may contact CIAC 24-hours a day. During off hours (5PM -
8AM PST), call the CIAC voice number 510-422-8193 and leave a message,
or call 800-759-7243 (800-SKY-PAGE) to send a Sky Page. CIAC has two
Sky Page PIN numbers, the primary PIN number, 8550070, is for the CIAC
duty person, and the secondary PIN number, 8550074 is for the CIAC
Project Leader.

Previous CIAC notices, anti-virus software, and other information are
available from the CIAC Computer Security Archive.

   World Wide Web:      http://ciac.llnl.gov/
   Anonymous FTP:       ciac.llnl.gov (198.128.39.53)
   Modem access:        +1 (510) 423-4753 (28.8K baud)
                        +1 (510) 423-3331 (28.8K baud)

CIAC has several self-subscribing mailing lists for electronic
publications:
1. CIAC-BULLETIN for Advisories, highest priority - time critical
   information and Bulletins, important computer security information;
2. CIAC-NOTES for Notes, a collection of computer security articles;
3. SPI-ANNOUNCE for official news about Security Profile Inspector
   (SPI) software updates, new features, distribution and
   availability;
4. SPI-NOTES, for discussion of problems and solutions regarding the
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You will receive an acknowledgment email immediately with a confirmation
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If you include the word 'help' in the body of an email to the above address,
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get past issues of CIAC bulletins via email, etc.

PLEASE NOTE: Many users outside of the DOE, ESnet, and NIH computing
communities receive CIAC bulletins.  If you are not part of these
communities, please contact your agency's response team to report
incidents. Your agency's team will coordinate with CIAC. The Forum of
Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) is a world-wide
organization. A list of FIRST member organizations and their
constituencies can be obtained via WWW at http://www.first.org/.

This document was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an
agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States
Government nor the University of California nor any of their
employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any
legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or
usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process
disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately
owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial products,
process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or
otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement,
recommendation or favoring by the United States Government or the
University of California. The views and opinions of authors expressed
herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States
Government or the University of California, and shall not be used for
advertising or product endorsement purposes.

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