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Microsoft Fixing Malware Engine Flaw With Latest Update

Microsoft started pushing an "important" fix to its Malware Protection Engine yesterday, addressing a privately reported vulnerability.

The fix affects security software that uses the engine, including Microsoft Security Essentials, Windows Defender, Forefront Client Security, Windows Live OneCare, Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 and the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool. Microsoft alerted users on Wednesday in security advisory 2491888 that it planned to automatically address this vulnerability with a routine engine update.

Unlike most security advisories from Microsoft, IT pros don't have to do much this time. The advisory just indicates that they should verify that the Malware Protection Engine is updated to version 1.1.6603.0 or higher, which means that the vulnerability is patched. Left unpatched, the vulnerability could lead to an elevation of privilege scenario. However, the attacker has to already have login credentials and needs to create "a specially crafted registry key" to be successful.

"An attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the LocalSystem account," wrote Microsoft in the security advisory. "The vulnerability could not be exploited by anonymous users."

The vulnerability, discovered by security researcher and consultant Cesar Cerrudo, has not been taken advantaged by would-be attackers, according to Microsoft.

Possibly, Microsoft is trying to show with this security advisory that it is becoming more transparent about its patching process. The security team made an effort earlier this month to illuminate its silent update patching process.  

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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