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Microsoft Windows XP Under Attack By Hackers
Category : General 03 Jul 2010 09:44 AM | Industry News
The bug involves the way XP directs web browsers towards help pages, having first checked the page against a "whitelist" to make sure it is legitimate. It's possible for hackers to exploit the flaw by fooling the computer during this checking process. The result is that the browser can be relocated to a page containing malicious software.
Statistics gathered by Microsoft suggest Portugal was taking the brunt of the attacks but users in Russia and Croatia were also being hit. More than 10,000 machines had been hit at least once by the attack, it found.
To avoid falling victim, Microsoft advised users to turn off the part of the Help and Support system that is vulnerable. It has produced an automated tool that can do this for users.
Mr Ferguson from Trend Micro said there were other steps users could take to stay safe.
"It is important to ensure that your security software is capable of identifying and blocking malicious websites," he said, "as you can be sure that the criminals behind this will be constantly updating their malicious files to try and avoid traditional security."
Google engineer Travis Ordmandy found a bug that attacks the Help and Support system built into Windows XP. The attack somehow automates the random-generation of web pages that host the exploit, thereby rendering victims PC vulnerable to dangerous Trojans, spam tools, viruses, and probably root-kit installations. More than 10,000 machines have been affected by this mystery attack so far by the loophole. To stay clear of harms way Microsoft advises Windows XP users to turn-off the Help and Support system on your PC’s for the time being.