One Patch to Rule Them All

Tuesday, 1 October 2002, 11:30 AM EST

On August 15th, Shane Hird published the details of a potentially serious issue with the Windows XP Help and Support Center where the contents of a known directory could be deleted if an attacker tricked someone into executing a maliciously formatted URL. At the time, there was no published patch, and no official work-around.

For the most part, it went widely unnoticed. Well, that may be a generalization -- I failed to notice it, as did all of the security people I know, but that doesn't mean the bad guys didn't tuck the information away into their cache of "crappy things to do to people when you're a script kiddie."

Granted, it wasn't a huge bug, but it did allow for one to trivially delete files from a victim's box (under the right circumstances). And since we are talking about an exploit primarily against the end user -- the home user -- we could hardly expect that the potential targets would be employing "best practices" security that would mitigate their exposure. Honestly, we can't expect them to even know what the best practices are in the first place.

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