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Related information

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  Microsoft Security Bulletin MS02-061: Elevation of Privilege in SQL Server Web Tasks (Q316333)

  Security Bulletin MS02-056: Cumulative Patch for SQL Server (Q316333)

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From:MICROSOFT <secure_(at)_microsoft.com>
Date:11.07.2002
Subject:Security Bulletin MS02-035: SQL Server Installation Process May Leave Passwords on System (Q263968)

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- ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Title:      SQL Server Installation Process May Leave Passwords on
           System (Q263968)
Date:       July 10, 2002
Software:   Microsoft SQL Server 7.0, Microsoft Data Engine 1.0
           (MSDE 1.0), or SQL Server 2000
Impact:     Elevation of privilege
Max Risk:   Moderate
Bulletin:   MS02-035

Microsoft encourages customers to review the Security Bulletin at:
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/MS02-035.asp.
- ----------------------------------------------------------------------

Issue:
======
When installing SQL Server 7.0 (including MSDE 1.0), SQL Server 2000,
or a service pack for SQL Server 7.0 or SQL Server 2000, the
information provided for the install process is collected and stored
in a setup file called setup.iss. The setup.iss file can then be
used to automate the installation of additional SQL Server systems.
SQL Server 2000 also includes the ability to record an unattended
install to the setup.iss file without having to actually perform an
installation. The administrator setting up the SQL Server can supply
a password to the installation routine under the following
circumstances:

- If the SQL Server is being set up in "Mixed Mode", a password
  for the SQL Server administrator (the "sa" account) must be
  supplied.
- Whether in Mixed Mode or Windows Authentication Mode, a User ID
  and password can optionally be supplied for the purpose of
  starting up SQL Server service accounts.

In either case, the password would be stored in the setup.iss file.
Prior to SQL Server 7.0 Service Pack 4, the passwords were stored in
clear text. For SQL Server 7.0 Service Pack 4 and SQL Server 2000
Service Packs 1 and 2, the passwords are encrypted and then stored.
Additionally, a log file is created during the installation process
that shows the results of the installation. The log file would also
include any passwords that had been stored in the setup.iss file.

A security vulnerability results because of two factors:

- The files remain on the server after the installation is
  complete. Except for the setup.iss file created by SQL Server
  2000, the files are in directories that can be accessed by
  anyone who can interactively log on to the system.
- The password information stored in the files is either in clear
  text (for SQL Server 7.0 prior to Service Pack 4) or encrypted
  using fairly weak protection. An attacker who recovered the
  files could subject them to a password cracking attack to learn
  the passwords, potentially compromising the sa password and/or a
  domain account password.

Mitigating Factors:
====================
- The vulnerability could only be exploited by an attacker who
  had the ability to interactively log onto an affected system.
  However, best practices suggest that unprivileged users not be
  allowed to interactively log onto business-critical servers,
  including database servers.
- The vulnerability with regard to the sa password only affects
  servers configured to use Mixed Mode. Customers using Windows
  Authentication Mode (which is the recommended mode) would only
  have credentials at risk if they had chosen to provide a domain
  credential to be used in starting the SQL Server services.
- The passwords stored in the setup.iss and log files are those
  provided at installation time and are not kept up-to-date when
  password changes are made. As a result, if the administrator
  changed a password, the information in the setup.iss and log
  files would not allow any access.
- In the case of SQL 2000, setup.iss is stored in a directory
  that only allows access by administrators and the user
  installing SQL Server.
- If the setup.iss and log files containing domain user and/or sa
  passwords are deleted, the passwords could not be retrieved.

Risk Rating:
============
- Internet systems: Moderate
- Intranet systems: Moderate
- Client systems: Moderate

Patch Availability:
===================
- A patch is available to fix this vulnerability. Please read the
  Security Bulletin at
  http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms02-035.asp
  for information on obtaining this patch.

Acknowledgment:
===============
- Cesar Cerrudo

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

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.

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