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Microsoft Network DDE Agent Request Vulnerability



Microsoft Network DDE Agent Request Vulnerability Privacy and Legal Notice

CIAC INFORMATION BULLETIN

L-044: Microsoft Network DDE Agent Request Vulnerability

February 9, 2001 23:00 GMT

PROBLEM: A flaw in the Network Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) agent could enable unprivileged users to run code and elevate privileges on a local machine.
PLATFORM: Windows 2000 only. (does not affect NT).
DAMAGE: Elevation of privileges could result in a Administrator compromise. Note the user must have a legitimate account on the system to exploit this vulnerability.
SOLUTION: Apply patches described in this bulletin. Also, Win 2000 servers should be configured such that unprivileged users do not have execute privileges on local server.

VULNERABILITY
ASSESSMENT:
LOW. This cannot be exploited remotely, and the user must have access to the local machine, and have an account for a successful elevation of privileges.


[******  Start Microsoft Advisory ******]

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Title:      Patch Available for "Network DDE Agent Request"
            Vulnerability
Date:       05 February 2001
Software:   Windows 2000
Impact:     Privilege elevation
Bulletin:   MS01-007


Microsoft encourages customers to review the Security Bulletin at:
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/MS01-007.asp.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------


Issue:
======
Network Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) is a technology that enables
applications on different Windows computers to dynamically share
data. This sharing is effected via communications channels called
trusted shares, which are managed by a service called the Network DDE
Agent. By design, processes on the local machine can levy requests
upon the Network DDE Agent, including ones that indicate what
application should be run in conjunction with a particular trusted
share. However, a vulnerability exists because, in Windows 2000, the
Network DDE Agent runs using the Local System security context and
processes all requests using this context, rather than that of the
user. This would give an attacker an opportunity to cause the Network
DDE Agent to run code of her choice in Local System context, as a
means of gaining complete control over the local machine.


Microsoft recommends that customers using Windows 2000 workstations
or who allow unprivileged users to run code on Windows 2000 servers
apply the patch immediately. In addition, customers operating Windows
2000 web servers should consider applying the patch to those machines
as well, as a precautionary measure. If an attacker were able to gain
the ability to run code in a restricted context on a web server via
another vulnerability, this vulnerability would provide a way to
immediately elevate her privileges and cause broader damage.


Mitigating Factors:
====================
 - The vulnerability would not affect terminal servers unless the
   attacker could log on at the console.  Best practices recommend
   against this.
 - Servers could only be affected if the attacker were given the
   ability to load a program of her choice onto the machine and
   execute it locally.  Best practices recommend against this.
 - Workstations, the machines primarily at risk, typically would
   not provide a way for the attacker to use control over the
   local machine to gain domain-wide privileges


Patch Availability:
===================
 - A patch is available to fix this vulnerability. Please read the
   Security Bulletin
   http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms01-007.asp
   for information on obtaining this patch.


Acknowledgment:
===============
 - Dildog of @Stake (http://www.atstake.com)


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


THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THE MICROSOFT KNOWLEDGE BASE IS PROVIDED
"AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND. MICROSOFT DISCLAIMS ALL
WARRANTIES, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING THE WARRANTIES OF
MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. IN NO EVENT
SHALL MICROSOFT CORPORATION OR ITS SUPPLIERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY
DAMAGES WHATSOEVER INCLUDING DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL,
CONSEQUENTIAL, LOSS OF BUSINESS PROFITS OR SPECIAL DAMAGES, EVEN IF
MICROSOFT CORPORATION OR ITS SUPPLIERS HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE
POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. SOME STATES DO NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION
OR LIMITATION OF LIABILITY FOR CONSEQUENTIAL OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES SO
THE FOREGOING LIMITATION MAY NOT APPLY.


[******  End Microsoft Advisory ******]



CIAC wishes to acknowledge the contributions of Microsoft for the information contained in this bulletin.
CIAC services are available to DOE, DOE Contractors, and the NIH. CIAC can be contacted at:
    Voice:          +1 925-422-8193 (7 x 24)
    FAX:            +1 925-423-8002
    STU-III:        +1 925-423-2604
    E-mail:          ciac@llnl.gov
    World Wide Web:  http://www.ciac.org/
                     http://ciac.llnl.gov
                     (same machine -- either one will work)
    Anonymous FTP:   ftp.ciac.org
                     ciac.llnl.gov
                     (same machine -- either one will work)

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.
UCRL-MI-119788
[Privacy and Legal Notice]


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