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Security Patch Released for Windows Media Server

Microsoft has released a patch for a particular Denial of Service (DoS) attack that could cripple servers running Windows Media Server.

Malicious users can connect to a Windows Media Server running the Unicast Service, then quickly close the session with a certain string of packets. Although the server recognizes that the session is closed, the server resources are still allocated to the user. When these steps are repeated, it is likely that a user could cripple a server.

In order to restore services, administrators would have to restart the afflicted server.

Presumably the hacking community shared scripts to automate the packet strings for disabling servers in this manner. Although the DoS attacks used to cripple Yahoo! and other sites in early 2000 used packets to exhaust server resources, the spring attacks used floods of meaningless packets, rather than specialized packets for disabling servers. This attack requires greater sophistication to perform.

Microsoft’s patch prevents this attack from exhausting resources on a Windows Media Server. It is available from Microsoft at http://www.microsoft.com/Downloads/Release.asp?ReleaseID=26470. – Christopher McConnell

About the Author

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

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