Microsoft finds vulnerabilities in Vista, W7 gadgets

By Juha Saarinen on Jul 12, 2012 8:06 AM
Filed under Security

Security risk for admins.

Microsoft has urged Windows Vista and Windows 7 users to disable desktop accessories in the operating systems as a security measure.

The software giant said in a security advisory that the insecure Gadgets feature in the systems can execute arbitrary code as well as access user data.

Users logged on as administrator, guest or power user could unwittingly allow rogue Gadgets to run any code it wants at that security level, and take complete control over the system, according to Microsoft.

The advisory includes an automated  "Fix It" tool disabling the features.

While Microsoft did not outline the specific vulnerabilities, a briefing at the Black Hat security conference later this month promises to provide greater detail on the issue.

Gadgets — developed with JavaScript, CSS and HTML — are embedded into the Windows operating system by default, potentially providing a number of interesting attack vectors, according to researchers Mickey Shkatov and Toby Kohlenberg.

All editions of Windows Vista Serivce Pack 2 are affected by the vulnerability, as well as the entire Windows 7 operating system family.

 
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