In an unusual move, Microsoft has released a formal security advisory to warn of the publication of "detailed exploit code" that targets a critical Windows vulnerability.
The software maker's security response unit is strongly urging Windows usersespecially businesses running Windows 2000to patch the vulnerabilities addressed in the MS06-025 bulletin because of the potential for a worm attack.
The MS06-025 bulletin provides fixes for a pair of code execution flaws in the RRAS (Routing and Remote Access Service) in Windows. On Windows 2000 systems, the flaws carry a "critical" rating because it presents a remote unauthenticated attack vector.
Both flaws could allow a remote attacker to take "complete control" of an affected system and because a blow-by-blow exploit has been published on the Web, Microsoft is bracing for the possibility of a disruptive attack similar to the Zotob worm that hit several high-provide targets in August 2005.
The exploit code was released by security consultant HD Moore as part of the Metasploit Framework, an open-source tool for penetration testing and exploit development.
"When something like this happens so quickly after release we wanted to highlight that fact, and let you know that we're not currently aware of any active attacks utilizing this exploit code at this time," said Microsoft security program manager Stephen Toulouse.
"We have confirmed that the exploit code does not affect users who have installed the update detailed in MS06-025 on their computers. So we continue to recommend that customers apply the that update," Toulouse added.
As is customary, Microsoft's advisory included a knock against "certain security researchers" for breaching what it described as "commonly accepted industry practice" with the publication of published exploit code that puts computer users at risk.
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