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SNMP Buffer Overrun Affects Windows

Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday advised users of its Windows server and client operating systems to disable the SNMP service if it is running because of a buffer overrun vulnerability in the industry-standard protocol.

Microsoft's Security Bulletin (MS02-006) accompanied a larger security advisory from the CERT/CC detailing how the SNMP vulnerability impacted operating systems, applications and hardware from dozens of vendors.

SNMP or Simple Network Management Protocol is for managing network devices, so the vulnerability affects computers, firewalls, routers and other products. A buffer overrun present in all implementations, can allow an attacker to cause denial of service or run code in LocalSystem context.

The SNMP service is disabled by default in all versions of Windows from Windows 95 and Windows NT up through Windows XP and Windows 2000 Server. Windows ME does not provide an SNMP implementation.

"A patch is under development to eliminate the vulnerability," Microsoft's security bulletin notes. "In the meantime, Microsoft recommends that customers who use the SNMP service disable it temporarily. Patches will be available shortly."

Microsoft classifies the SNMP vulnerability as a low risk on affected Internet servers, a moderate risk on affected intranet servers and a moderate risk on affected client systems.

Instructions for disabling the service are provided in the bulletin.

About the Author

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

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