Security researchers have released attack code that will crash Windows XP and Vista PCs that are susceptible to a recently patched bug in the operating system. The code was released yesterday to security professionals who use Immunity's Canvas computer security testing software. It causes the Windows system to crash but does not let the attacker run malicious software on the victim's system. It is not available to the general public.
That's the biggest concern for security experts who worry that a more dangerous attack may soon follow as researchers dig further into the vulnerability. The bug is particularly troublesome for two reasons. First, it affects a widely used Windows component that is turned on by default. Worse, no user interaction is required to trigger the flaw, meaning that it could be exploited in a self-copying worm attack. Microsoft patched the flaw in its MS08-001 update, released last week, but it takes time for enterprise users to test and install Microsoft's patches.