Vista Security Held Firm Under Attack

Exploits using .ani files that tried to load malware just caused PCs to crash--proof that Windows Vista security works, analyst says. Microsoft Corp.'s Vista operating system took some of its first punches when a dangerous vulnerability was disclosed earlier this month, but the OS held strong, a security analyst said Tuesday. At least two exploits […]

Exploits using .ani files that tried to load malware just caused PCs to crash--proof that Windows Vista security works, analyst says. Microsoft Corp.'s Vista operating system took some of its first punches when a dangerous vulnerability was disclosed earlier this month, but the OS held strong, a security analyst said Tuesday.

At least two exploits were targeted at Vista, trying to circumvent a new security feature designed to thwart malicious software attacks, said Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer for F-Secure Corp. at the InfoSecurity Europe in London on Tuesday. Microsoft issued an out-of-cycle patch for the vulnerability, which occurred in how Windows processed ".ani" or animated cursor files, which allow Web sites to replace the regular cursor with cartoonish alternatives.

At least two exploits tried to take advantage of the vulnerability, by skirting Vista's Address Space Load Randomization (ASLR) security feature, which varies how the OS's memory map looks each time the computer is booted, Hypponen said. The feature can confound some malicious software programs, which need to run in a specific part of the computer's memory to function properly.

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Microsoft, Windows vista, Vista Security, .Ani files, Flaw, Vulnerability