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Microsoft Warns of New NT 4.0 Security Breach

In a bulletin dated January 21, Microsoft detailed a security vulnerability in a Windows NT 4.0 administrative utility. Since then, Microsoft has learned that the vulnerability could also affect Windows NT 4.0 servers and workstations.

The RDISK utility is used to create an Emergency Repair Disk (ERD) in order to record machine state information as a contingency against system failure. During execution, RDISK creates a temporary file containing an enumeration of the registry. The access control lists (ACLs) on the file allow global read permission, and as a result, a malicious user who knew that the administrator was running RDISK could open the file and read the registry enumeration information as it was being created. RDISK erases the file upon successful completion, so under normal conditions there would be no lasting vulnerability.

Windows NT 4.0 Workstation, Server, Enterprise Edition, and Terminal Server Edition are all affected by the vulnerability. The patch for Intel machines running NT 4.0 Workstation, Server, or Server, Enterprise Edition is available at http://www.microsoft.com/Downloads/Release.asp?ReleaseID=17745. The patch for Alpha machines running the same versions of NT is available at http://www.microsoft.com/Downloads/Release.asp?ReleaseID=17747. The patch for NT 4.0 Server, Terminal Server Edition is available at http://www.microsoft.com/Downloads/Release.asp?ReleaseID=17384. -- Isaac Slepner

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.