Latest News: Technology |  Celebrity |  Movies |  Apple |  Cars |  Business |  Sports |  TV Shows |  Geek


Filed under: News


1 Billion PCs At Risk As Windows Error Reporting Sends Reports In Clear

Jan 1 2014, 12:26pm CST | by

10 Updates


Full Story

1 Billion PCs At Risk As Windows Error Reporting Sends Reports In Clear

This sounds like a remarkably alarming warning: as many as 1 billion networked PCs around the world are allegedly at risk because Windows Error Reportin (aka Dr. Watson) sends its report in the clear. And those reports do include machine tupe, OS, version of OS, which system packs have been installed and so on. All of the information that a hacker usually is interested in to see what tools, if any, he will need to be able to access the machine.

The warning comes from Websense:

Websense® Security Labs™ recently processed a sample data set from the Websense ThreatSeeker® Intelligence Network to investigate the security risk from popular applications and services. We determined enterprise and public sector networks are inadvertently leaking information, which could be used by a threat actor as intelligence to craft specific attacks and compromise networks.

One troubling thing we observed is Windows Error Reporting (a.k.a. Dr. Watson) predominantly sends out its crash logs in the clear. These error logs could ultimately allow eavesdroppers to map out vulnerable endpoints and gain a foothold within the network for more advanced penetration. Here’s more on why that’s a concern:

80 percent of all network-connected PCs use it – that’s more than one billion endpoints worldwide
Dr. Watson reports information that hackers commonly use to find and exploit weak systems such as OS, service pack and update versions
Crashes are especially useful for attackers since they may pinpoint a new exploitable code flaw for a zero-day attack
Information is also sent for common system events like plugging in a USB device/>/>/>

Now it is true that this information is hugely valuable to Microsoft and also to the rest of us. For it’s what is used to try and make the operating system, Windows, work better over time and given the number of us that still use it that’s a highly desirable outcome.

However, there are a number of problems with it being sent in clear. For a start, anyone gaining access to that flow of information obviously has a great deal of information about where Windows is currently failing. That’s a great start to finding the vulnerabilities and flaws that allow the design of exploits.

It’s not entirely simple to gain access to that error reporting traffic but it most certainly can be done with a variety of man in the middle methods. Or, more importantly, if, just as an example of something unlikely, a spy agency had fibreoptic links into the backbone it could deliberately sniff for such traffic. And this would give it a lovely database of those machines that haven’t been updating their service packs and thus have known vulnerabilities.

It’s a rather large and gaping hole that much of this traffic is moving unencrypted. Websense don’t suggest not sending the reports of course: the improvements that come from the information are too valuable for that. However, they do suggest that computers on any network should be sending their reports to a local server, within the network, there to be encrypted before being sent off to Microsoft.

Source: Forbes


You Might Also Like


Sponsored Update

Update: 10

Saiful sues Anwar for RM50m over sodomy claim

Source: Malaysia Today

Ida Lim, Malay Mail Online PKR’s Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is now facing a RM50 million civil suit from his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan for alleged sodomy ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today 4 days ago, 12:30am CDT


Update: 9

Centurion Corp acquires Penang land to develop workers dorm

Source: The Edge Singapore

Centurion Corporation said it has agreed to acquire a piece of land located at Seberang Perai Selatan in Penang, Malaysia, for RM6.3 million ($2.45 million). This marks the group’s first acquisition in another state of Malaysia outs ...
Source: The Edge Singapore   Full article at: The Edge Singapore 4 days ago, 9:21am CDT

More From the Web

Update: 8

All eyes on Hannah Yeoh

Source: Malaysia Today

Izhar Moslim, Malay Mail Online Questions are being raised about Khalid Ibrahim’s RM70 mil debt that was settled out of court and the links to Umno perhaps via the Selangor. ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today 6 days ago, 12:36am CDT

Update: 7

State moves to delist Malaysia Airlines at a cost of RM1.4 billion

Source: Channel News Asia

KUALA LUMPUR: Deeply troubled Malaysia Airlines (MAS) suspended trading in its shares on Friday (Aug 8) amid expectations of a corporate restructuring following the twin disasters of MH370 and MH17.State investor Khazanah, which owns 69.37 per cent of the airline, will offer 27 sen per share in the company that it does not own, totalling about RM1.4 billion (S$550 million) to take the company private. A Malaysia Airlines plane is seen taxi ...
Source: Channel News Asia   Full article at: Channel News Asia Aug 7 2014, 10:00pm CDT

Update: 6

Pamper Those At Home, The Ones Abroad Will Soon Return

Source: Malaysia Today

Last year, the Talent Corporation spent RM65 million on Malaysian professionals abroad to entice them to return. It may be counterintuitive but the money would be better spent on those... R ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Aug 5 2014, 9:03pm CDT

Update: 5

“RM7.65b offer final’

Source: Malaysia Today

(NST) – Federal govt to invoke Wasia in takeover of Puncak Niaga, Syabas, Splash and Konsortium ABASS assets THE Selangor government is sticking to its collective RM7.65 billion takeover offer ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Aug 2 2014, 9:39pm CDT

Update: 4

Copper thieves foiled by stalled lorry

Source: Asia One

SHAH ALAM - Robbers who carted away RM1.7 million (S$660,000) worth of copper coils from a factory at Subang High-tech Industrial Park had to abandon half the loot when one of their lorries broke down.In the 6am incident yesterday, five robbers entered the factory and tied up two security guards before fleeing with large amounts of copper coils.However, police found one of the container lorries used by the robbers abandoned by the r ...
Source: Asia One   Full article at: Asia One Aug 1 2014, 8:45pm CDT

Update: 3

4 Firms In Iskandar Malaysia Get Facilitation Fund Totalling RM16.2 Million

Source: Malaysia Today

(Bernama) – Four companies have received the facilitation fund amounting to RM16.2 million from TERAJU@Iskandar Malaysia in an information sharing programme on business opportunities and as ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jul 24 2014, 7:42am CDT

Update: 2

Selangor’s Watergate about to explode

Source: Malaysia Today

Anwar brought Wan Azmi to meet Khalid to try to resolve this matter. Anwar supports the RM2.5 billion claim but Khalid is stubbornly sticking to the figure of RM250 million.... REA ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jul 23 2014, 4:12am CDT

Update: 1

GLCs told to provide RM7 billion to develop Bumiputera firms

Source: Malaysia Today

(The Malaysian Insider) – Putrajaya has directed government-linked companies (GLC) to generate RM7 billion in business opportunities for Bumiputera firms this year, Prime Minister Prime Minist ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jul 17 2014, 2:05am CDT

Shopping Deals


<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.




blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Samsung’s Galaxy S6 To Feature Galaxy Alpha Like Metal Body
Samsung’s Galaxy S6 To Feature Galaxy Alpha Like Metal Body
Samsung is taking to the drawing board for the Galaxy S6 and is bringing a metal construction to the model.
UK spies have scanned the internet connections of entire countries
UK spies have scanned the internet connections of entire countries
UK's GCHQ intelligence agency is mapping the internet connections of whole nations
More press shots of HTC One (M8) with WP 8.1 leak
More press shots of HTC One (M8) with WP 8.1 leak
The high-end device is expected to debut in a dew days, on August 19 in New York City.

About the Geek Mind

The “geek mind” is concerned with more than just the latest iPhone rumors, or which company will win the gaming console wars. I4U is concerned with more than just the latest photo shoot or other celebrity gossip.

The “geek mind” is concerned with life, in all its different forms and facets. The geek mind wants to know about societal and financial issues, both abroad and at home. If a Fortune 500 decides to raise their minimum wage, or any high priority news, the geek mind wants to know. The geek mind wants to know the top teams in the National Football League, or who’s likely to win the NBA Finals this coming year. The geek mind wants to know who the hottest new models are, or whether the newest blockbuster movie is worth seeing. The geek mind wants to know. The geek mind wants—needs—knowledge.

Read more about The Geek Mind.