Microsoft Pushes Out Security Fix For Malware Protection Engine

Microsoft pushed out a patch for an "important" vulnerability that would have allowed hackers to take control of systems.

Microsoft pushed out an update to the Microsoft Malware Protection Engine on Feb. 23. It was discovered by Cesar Cerrudo, CEO of security research firm Argeniss, who publicly disclosed his Token Kidnapping research at the Black Hat security conference in July 2010.

The Microsoft Malware Protection Engine is used in various Microsoft security products, including Windows Live OneCare, Microsoft Security Essentials, Windows Defender, Forefront Client Security, Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 and the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool. Since these applications regularly update themselves, users and administrators should get the fix automatically within 48 weeks or by the end of the weekend, according to the company.

With an "elevation of privilege" vulnerability, the bug allowed attackers who already had access to the system to upgrade its user permissions to gain administrative control, Microsoft said. While the company hasn't come across any active exploits taking advantage of the security hole, the likelihood of the threat was high enough that Microsoft rated the patch "important."

"An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could execute arbitrary code... and take complete control of the system," Microsoft said in its security advisory. "An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights," according to the advisory.

This article was originally published on 02-25-2011
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