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Microsoft Fixes Index Server Bugs

Microsoft released a patch that eliminates two security breaches in Index Server. One vulnerability would allow a malicious user to view, but not change, add, or delete, files on a Web server, the other would reveal where directories are physically located on the server. Both are issues of potential hacker surveillance for subsequent attacks.

The first vulnerability is the "Malformed Hit-Highlighting Argument." The ISAPI filter that implements the hit-highlighting (also known as "WebHits") functionality does not constrain what files can be requested. By providing a deliberately malformed argument in a request to hit-highlight a document, it is possible to escape the virtual directory. This would allow any file residing on the server itself, and on the same logical drive as the Web root directory, to be retrieved regardless of permissions.

The second vulnerability involves the error message that is returned when a user requests a non-existent Internet Data Query file. The error message provides the physical path to the Web directory that was contained in the request. This vulnerability could be used as a reconnaissance tool by a malicious user to map the file structure of a Web server.

Microsoft Index Server 2.0 and the Indexing Services in Windows 2000 are affected by these vulnerabilities. The Index Server patch for Intel machines is available at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/release.asp?ReleaseID=17727 and for Alpha machines at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/release.asp?ReleaseID=17728. The patch for Indexing Services for Windows 2000 is available for Intel machines at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/release.asp?ReleaseID=17726. -- Isaac Slepner

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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