An alert for XP users

Discussion in 'Desktop' started by Crazy Horse, Sep 12, 2002.

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  1. Crazy Horse

    Crazy Horse ZP Troll SWAT Team Established Member

    I found this information out. Read carefully:
    A malicious Win-XP Help Center request can easily and silently delete the contents of any directory on your Windows machine, we've learned. Worse, MS has rolled the fix silently into SP1 without making a public announcement. A good sketch of the problem in English, along with a harmless self-test, can be found here, thanks to Mike at, who did some tinkering after noticing a tip on a BBS.

    Another, slightly earlier, mention comes from VSAntivirus, but the page, unfortunately, is en espanol, though there are some handy screen shots in their bulletin.

    The hole was discovered by Shane Hird of Distributed Systems Technology Centre, who first reported it to MS on 25 June 2002. His bulletin, dated 15 August, offers the most detailed view of the problem. He suggests that fellow bug hunters look more deeply into the Help Center and its mysterious powers, since requests can remotely open files with elevated privileges. He offers a few hints about where one might start probing.

    To verify the exploit all you need to do is pop the following request into any address bar (IE, Win Explorer, etc): hcp://system/DFS/uplddrvinfo.htm?file://c:\test\* and the directory 'test' will be emptied after a couple of Help Center 'wizard' pages pop up uselessly to distract you.

    The example works as advertised, so anyone wanting to play with it should create a test directory with copies of files. Of course you can delete your entire root directory with this approach if you so choose. Or someone else's.

    The exploit is extremely dangerous because it looks to the casual user just like a URL, and can be sent in an e-mail or set up as a link on a Web page. Promising heaps of free pr0n in a busy IRC channel would also likewise be effective.

    To get rid of the vulnerability, you have two choices. You can install XP's new SP1, which will give Billg remote root privileges on your box by virtue of his new, Trojan EULA (and silently re-enable some services you may have disabled like 'automatic update'); or you can just go to C:\Windows\PCHEALTH\HELPCTR\SYSTEM\DFS\ and find the file uplddrvinfo.htm. This you can simply delete or rename. But beware of installing MS patches later on: these have a funny tendency to restore files and settings outside their immediate purview, back to Redmond defaults.

    To check it out I did a clean install of XP and verified the exploit on a virgin image. I then installed all of the XP patches and updates except SP1, and it still worked. So SP1 is the only 'official' means of fixing the hole. It's not otherwise been dealt with. Those who object to the SP1 EULA on moral grounds will have to delete or rename uplddrvinfo.htm, and do a search for it after subsequent patching to verify that it's still gone.

    Problems with the XP Help Center have been known for some time, at least since November 2001, when this exploitable buffer overflow was first reported. Now the issue has finally been fixed, in the background, with no announcement from Redmond. This means that any XP user who doesn't install SP1, and who never hears of the flaw, will remain vulnerable.

    Redmond's handling of the issue is appalling. Apparently, 'Trustworthy Computing' means never having to say you screwed up.

    We recommend installing SP1 to avoid getting effected/hit by malicious webpages/e-mails and the various other forms of expolits. Also installing and using a Virus Checker on your system would help to lessen the risk of getting hit.
  2. Crazy Horse

    Crazy Horse ZP Troll SWAT Team Established Member


    And you already know the problems related to the service patch.
  3. mojo-ris-in

    mojo-ris-in Cheers Established Member

    Thanks Crazy Horse

    :devil Thanks Crazy good job I took SP1 update sheesh is it big! It took over an hour to DL and install.
  4. Jeramey

    Jeramey Member

    Thank you for spreading the word about the fix without having to use SP1.

  5. Foreverboard

    Foreverboard Alien in Penguin suit....

    I found this out yesterday and tested it, crazy how it works.
  6. Carpe Diem

    Carpe Diem Member

    hey richard, nice read, catch ya around. rtw
  7. PorkSwordsman

    PorkSwordsman Member

    the answer

    Go to the above address and download the free bigfix client, i have used it for years and it automatically scans windows for any security issues and downloads the relevant patches for your software - works on any version of windows, you will be surprised what it picks up!! when doing a new install after i have got windows running i automatically patch it with bigfix - tip - if like me and the other sensible people you have a hacked pirate version of xp ( i have a triboot setup) p.s. i have never paid for windows ever!!!! DONT download Servicepack 1 as it will take out the non expiry patch and disable XP all the other patches are ok.:cross
  8. Rickio

    Rickio Member


    here is a little app that disables xp's autoupates and more if you don't trust micro$oft.

    I went to the website and it was down, so I just posted the file in case anyone is interested.

    btw, if you will be updating to sp1, don't install this till after you update or sp1 will not update.

    sharereactor has winXPproCorp with sp1integrated if anyone wants to jump on that.

    Attached Files:

  9. jonny5

    jonny5 Mr Roboto

    I updated to sp1 so I guess i'm safe from this hack. *shakes head at microsoft*
    Now I just wish gta3 would work w/ sp1 :/
  10. hawkburn

    hawkburn Yup...

    i consider myself safe ---so far--- with SP1

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