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  Microsoft Windows kernel privilege escalation

From:MICROSOFT <secure_(at)_microsoft.com>
Date:10.02.2010
Subject:Microsoft Security Bulletin MS10-015 - Important Vulnerabilities in Windows Kernel Could Allow Elevation of Privilege (977165)

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS10-015 - Important
Vulnerabilities in Windows Kernel Could Allow Elevation of Privilege (977165)
Published: February 09, 2010

Version: 1.0
General Information
Executive Summary

This security update resolves one publicly disclosed and one privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerabilities could allow elevation of privilege if an attacker logged on to the system and then ran a specially crafted application. To exploit either vulnerability, an attacker must have valid logon credentials and be able to log on locally. The vulnerabilities could not be exploited remotely or by anonymous users.

This security update is rated Important for all supported editions of Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, and Windows 7 for 32-bit Systems. For more information, see the subsection, Affected and Non-Affected Software, in this section.

The security update addresses the vulnerabilities by ensuring that the Windows Kernel handles exceptions properly. For more information about the vulnerabilities, see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) subsection for the specific vulnerability entry under the next section, Vulnerability Information.

This security update also addresses the vulnerability first described in Microsoft Security Advisory 979682.

Recommendation.  The majority of customers have automatic updating enabled and will not need to take any action because this security update will be downloaded and installed automatically. Customers who have not enabled automatic updating need to check for updates and install this update manually. For information about specific configuration options in automatic updating, see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 294871.

For administrators and enterprise installations, or end users who want to install this security update manually, Microsoft recommends that customers apply the update at the earliest opportunity using update management software, or by checking for updates using the Microsoft Update service.

See also the section, Detection and Deployment Tools and Guidance, later in this bulletin.

Known Issues. Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 977165 documents the currently known issues that customers may experience when installing this security update. The article also documents recommended solutions for these issues. When currently known issues and recommended solutions pertain only to specific releases of this software, this article provides links to further articles.
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Affected and Non-Affected Software

The following software have been tested to determine which versions or editions are affected. Other versions or editions are either past their support life cycle or are not affected. To determine the support life cycle for your software version or edition, visit Microsoft Support Lifecycle.

Affected Software
Operating System Maximum Security Impact Aggregate Severity Rating Bulletins Replaced by this Update

Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4


Elevation of Privilege


Important


MS09-058

Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Windows XP Service Pack 3


Elevation of Privilege


Important


MS09-058

Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Service Pack 2


Elevation of Privilege


Important


MS09-058

Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2


Elevation of Privilege


Important


MS09-058

Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition Service Pack 2


Elevation of Privilege


Important


MS09-058

Windows Server 2003 with SP2 for Itanium-based Systems


Elevation of Privilege


Important


MS09-058

Windows Vista, Windows Vista Service Pack 1, and Windows Vista Service Pack 2


Elevation of Privilege


Important


MS09-058

Windows Vista x64 Edition, Windows Vista x64 Edition Service Pack 1, and Windows Vista x64 Edition Service Pack 2


Elevation of Privilege


Important


MS09-058

Windows Server 2008 for 32-bit Systems and Windows Server 2008 for 32-bit Systems Service Pack 2*


Elevation of Privilege


Important


MS09-058

Windows Server 2008 for x64-based Systems and Windows Server 2008 for x64-based Systems Service Pack 2*


Elevation of Privilege


Important


MS09-058

Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems and Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems Service Pack 2


Elevation of Privilege


Important


MS09-058

Windows 7 for 32-bit Systems


Elevation of Privilege


Important


None

*Server Core installation affected. This update applies, with the same severity rating, to supported editions of Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 as indicated, whether or not installed using the Server Core installation option. For more information on this installation option, see the MSDN articles, Server Core and Server Core for Windows Server 2008 R2. Note that the Server Core installation option does not apply to certain editions of Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2; see Compare Server Core Installation Options.

Non-Affected Software
Operating System

Windows 7 for x64-based Systems

Windows Server 2008 R2 for x64-based Systems

Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-based Systems
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Related to This Security Update

Where are the file information details?
Refer to the reference tables in the Security Update Deployment section for the location of the file information details.

Why does this update address several reported security vulnerabilities?
This update contains support for several vulnerabilities because the modifications that are required to address these issues are located in related files. Instead of having to install several updates that are almost the same, customers need to install this update only.

Does this update contain any non-security related changes to functionality?
Yes, the update package for all affected Windows platforms (KB977165) includes the changes to the Windows Kernel described in Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 977165.

I am using an older release of the software discussed in this security bulletin. What should I do?
The affected software listed in this bulletin have been tested to determine which releases are affected. Other releases are past their support life cycle. For more information about the product lifecycle, visit the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Web site.

It should be a priority for customers who have older releases of the software to migrate to supported releases to prevent potential exposure to vulnerabilities. To determine the support lifecycle for your software release, see Select a Product for Lifecycle Information. For more information about service packs for these software releases, see Lifecycle Supported Service Packs.

Customers who require custom support for older software must contact their Microsoft account team representative, their Technical Account Manager, or the appropriate Microsoft partner representative for custom support options. Customers without an Alliance, Premier, or Authorized Contract can contact their local Microsoft sales office. For contact information, visit the Microsoft Worldwide Information Web site, select the country in the Contact Information list, and then click Go to see a list of telephone numbers. When you call, ask to speak with the local Premier Support sales manager. For more information, see the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ.
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Vulnerability Information

Severity Ratings and Vulnerability Identifiers

The following severity ratings assume the potential maximum impact of the vulnerability. For information regarding the likelihood, within 30 days of this security bulletin's release, of the exploitability of the vulnerability in relation to its severity rating and security impact, please see the Exploitability Index in the February bulletin summary. For more information, see Microsoft Exploitability Index.
Vulnerability Severity Rating and Maximum Security Impact by Affected Software
Affected Software Windows Kernel Exception Handler Vulnerability - CVE-2010-0232 Windows Kernel Double Free Vulnerability - CVE-2010-0233 Aggregate Severity Rating

Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4


Important
Elevation of Privilege


Important
Elevation of Privilege


Important

Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Windows XP Service Pack 3


Important
Elevation of Privilege


Important
Elevation of Privilege


Important

Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Service Pack 2


Not applicable


Important
Elevation of Privilege


Important

Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2


Important
Elevation of Privilege


Important
Elevation of Privilege


Important

Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition Service Pack 2


Not applicable


Important
Elevation of Privilege


Important

Windows Server 2003 with SP2 for Itanium-based Systems


Not applicable


Important
Elevation of Privilege


Important

Windows Vista, Windows Vista Service Pack 1, and Windows Vista Service Pack 2


Important
Elevation of Privilege


Important
Elevation of Privilege


Important

Windows Vista x64 Edition, Windows Vista x64 Edition Service Pack 1, and Windows Vista x64 Edition Service Pack 2


Not applicable


Important
Elevation of Privilege


Important

Windows Server 2008 for 32-bit Systems and Windows Server 2008 for 32-bit Systems Service Pack 2*


Important
Elevation of Privilege


Important
Elevation of Privilege


Important

Windows Server 2008 for x64-based Systems and Windows Server 2008 for x64–based Systems Service Pack 2*


Not applicable


Important
Elevation of Privilege


Important

Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems and Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems Service Pack 2


Not applicable


Important
Elevation of Privilege


Important

Windows 7 for 32-bit Systems


Important
Elevation of Privilege


Not applicable


Important

*Server Core installation affected. This update applies, with the same severity rating, to supported editions of Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2, whether or not installed using the Server Core installation option. For more information on this installation option, see the MSDN articles, Server Core and Server Core for Windows Server 2008 R2. Note that the Server Core installation option does not apply to certain editions of Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2; see Compare Server Core Installation Options.
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Windows Kernel Exception Handler Vulnerability - CVE-2010-0232

An elevation of privilege vulnerability exists in the Windows Kernel due to the way the kernel handles certain exceptions. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could run arbitrary code in kernel mode. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

To view this vulnerability as a standard entry in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures list, see CVE-2010-0232.

Mitigating Factors for Windows Kernel Exception Handler Vulnerability - CVE-2010-0232

Mitigation refers to a setting, common configuration, or general best-practice, existing in a default state, that could reduce the severity of exploitation of a vulnerability. The following mitigating factors may be helpful in your situation:


64-bit Microsoft Windows operating systems and Windows Server 2008 for 32-bit Systems are not affected by this vulnerability.


An attacker must have valid logon credentials and be able to log on locally to exploit this vulnerability. The vulnerability could not be exploited remotely or by anonymous users.
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Workarounds for Windows Kernel Exception Handler Vulnerability - CVE-2010-0232

Workaround refers to a setting or configuration change that does not correct the underlying vulnerability but would help block known attack vectors before you apply the update. Microsoft has tested the following workarounds and states in the discussion whether a workaround reduces functionality:


Disable the NTVDM subsystem

Note See Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 979682 for information on how to implement this workaround automatically.

1.


Click Start, click Run, type gpedit.msc in the Open box, and then click OK.

This opens the Group Policy console.

2.


Expand the Administrative Templates folder, and then click Windows Components.

3.


Click the Application Compatibility folder.

4.


In the details pane, double click the Prevent access to 16-bit applications policy setting. By default, this is set to Not Configured.

5.


Change the policy setting to Enabled, and then click OK.

Impact of workaround. Users will not be able to run 16-bit applications.
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FAQ for Windows Kernel Exception Handler Vulnerability - CVE-2010-0232

What is the scope of the vulnerability?
This is an elevation of privilege vulnerability. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could execute arbitrary code and take complete control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

What causes the vulnerability?
The Windows kernel does not properly handle certain exceptions.

What is the Windows Kernel?
The Windows Kernel is the core of the operating system. It provides system level services such as device management and memory management, allocates processor time to processes, and manages error handling.

What is the Windows Virtual DOS Machine (NTVDM) subsystem?
The Windows Virtual DOS Machine (NTVDM) subsystem is a protected environment subsystem that emulates MS-DOS and 16-bit Windows within Windows NT-based operating systems. A VDM is created whenever a user starts an MS-DOS application on a Windows NT-based operating system.

What might an attacker use the vulnerability to do?
An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could run arbitrary code in kernel mode. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

How could an attacker exploit the vulnerability?
To exploit this vulnerability, an attacker would first have to log on to the system. An attacker could then run a specially crafted application that could exploit the vulnerability and take complete control over an affected system.

What systems are primarily at risk from the vulnerability?
Workstations and terminal servers are primarily at risk. Servers could be at more risk if administrators allow users to log on to servers and to run programs. However, best practices strongly discourage allowing this.

What does the update do?
The update addresses the vulnerability by ensuring that the Windows Kernel handles the exception properly.

When this security bulletin was issued, had this vulnerability been publicly disclosed?
Yes. This vulnerability has been publicly disclosed. It has been assigned Common Vulnerability and Exposure number CVE-2010-0232. This issue was first discussed in Microsoft Security Advisory 979682.

When this security bulletin was issued, had Microsoft received any reports that this vulnerability was being exploited?
No. Microsoft had not received any information to indicate that this vulnerability had been publicly used to attack customers when this security bulletin was originally issued.
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Windows Kernel Double Free Vulnerability - CVE-2010-0233

An elevation of privilege vulnerability exists in the Windows Kernel due to a double free condition. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could run arbitrary code in kernel mode. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

To view this vulnerability as a standard entry in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures list, see CVE-2010-0233.

Mitigating Factors for Windows Kernel Double Free Vulnerability - CVE-2010-0233

Mitigation refers to a setting, common configuration, or general best-practice, existing in a default state, that could reduce the severity of exploitation of a vulnerability. The following mitigating factors may be helpful in your situation:


An attacker must have valid logon credentials and be able to log on locally to exploit this vulnerability. The vulnerability could not be exploited remotely or by anonymous users.
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Workarounds for Windows Kernel Double Free Vulnerability - CVE-2010-0233

Microsoft has not identified any workarounds for this vulnerability.
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FAQ for Windows Kernel Double Free Vulnerability - CVE-2010-0233

What is the scope of the vulnerability?
This is an elevation of privilege vulnerability. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could execute arbitrary code and take complete control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

What causes the vulnerability?
The Windows Kernel does not correctly reset a pointer when freeing memory. This results in a double free condition in the Windows Kernel.

What is the Windows Kernel?
The Windows Kernel is the core of the operating system. It provides system level services such as device management and memory management, allocates processor time to processes, and manages error handling.

What is a "double free" condition?
A double free condition is a condition in which a program is caused to release or free allocated memory more than once. Releasing memory that has already been freed could lead to memory corruption. An attacker could add arbitrary code to memory that is then executed when the corruption occurs. This code could then be executed at a system level of privilege.

Typically, this vulnerability will cause a denial of service to occur. However, in some circumstances, code execution could occur. Because of the unique layout of the memory on each affected system, exploiting this vulnerability on a mass scale could be difficult.

What might an attacker use the vulnerability to do?
An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could run arbitrary code in kernel mode. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

How could an attacker exploit the vulnerability?
To exploit this vulnerability, an attacker would first have to log on to the system. An attacker could then run a specially crafted application that could exploit the vulnerability and take complete control over the affected system.

What systems are primarily at risk from the vulnerability?
Workstations and terminal servers are primarily at risk. Servers could be at more risk if administrators allow users to log on to servers and to run programs. However, best practices strongly discourage allowing this.

What does the update do?
The update addresses the vulnerability by ensuring that the Windows Kernel correctly resets pointers when freeing memory.

When this security bulletin was issued, had this vulnerability been publicly disclosed?
No. Microsoft received information about this vulnerability through responsible disclosure.

When this security bulletin was issued, had Microsoft received any reports that this vulnerability was being exploited?
No. Microsoft had not received any information to indicate that this vulnerability had been publicly used to attack customers when this security bulletin was originally issued.

Other Information
Acknowledgments

Microsoft thanks the following for working with us to help protect customers:


Tavis Ormandy of Google Inc. for reporting the Windows Kernel Double Free Vulnerability (CVE-2010-0233)
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Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP)

To improve security protections for customers, Microsoft provides vulnerability information to major security software providers in advance of each monthly security update release. Security software providers can then use this vulnerability information to provide updated protections to customers via their security software or devices, such as antivirus, network-based intrusion detection systems, or host-based intrusion prevention systems. To determine whether active protections are available from security software providers, please visit the active protections Web sites provided by program partners, listed in Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP) Partners.

Support


Customers in the U.S. and Canada can receive technical support from Security Support or 1-866-PCSAFETY. There is no charge for support calls that are associated with security updates. For more information about available support options, see Microsoft Help and Support.


International customers can receive support from their local Microsoft subsidiaries. There is no charge for support that is associated with security updates. For more information about how to contact Microsoft for support issues, visit the International Support Web site.

Disclaimer

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.

Revisions


V1.0 (February 9, 2010): Bulletin published.

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