Microsoft Corp.'s security team today acknowledged that it knew of bugs in its Jet Database Engine as far back as 2005 but did not patch the problems because it thought it had blocked the obvious attack vectors.
A researcher at Symantec Corp. said Microsoft should have fixed the flaws years ago.
In a post to the Microsoft Security Research Center (MSRC) blog late Monday afternoon, Mike Reavey, the MSRC's operations manager, admitted that outside researchers had notified Microsoft in 2005 and 2007 of separate bugs in Jet, a Windows component that provides data access to applications such as Microsoft Access and Visual Basic.
In both cases, Microsoft told the researchers that it would not fix the flaw because it considered users safe. Outlook blocked the .mdb file format from being opened, Exchange servers stripped them from incoming messages and Internet Explorer issued warnings when users clicked on such files, said Reavey as he explained Microsoft's decision.
But the company hadn't thought of the attack strategy now being used by hackers. "Everything changed with the discovery of this new attack vector that allowed an attacker to load an .mdb file via opening a Microsoft Word document," he said. "The previous guidance does not work against this new attack. So that's why we alerted customers to these attacks and are re-investigating Jet parsing flaws -- this is a new attack vector discovered that we didn't know about."
Microsoft, Symantec, Jet Database Engine, JDE, Vulnerability, Exploit, Bug