MS10-015: Microsoft Re-releases BSOD Security Bulletin
Article by George Norman
On 04 Mar 2010
Those of you keeping track of these things will remember that during the February Patch Tuesday, Microsoft rolled out security bulletin MS10-015 “Vulnerabilities in Windows Kernel Could Allow Elevation of Privilege.” The bulletin turned out to be a massive headache for some Windows users. As Microsoft explained, they started to experience some restart issues – by that Microsoft meant the users were seeing the dreaded BSOD (Blue Screen of Death).

Realizing something is amiss, Microsoft launched an investigation into the matter and when it came to light that MS10-015 might be the cause of the problems users were experiencing, it took down the bulletin. As the investigation moved forward, Microsoft uncovered that its security bulletin is not to blame for the restart issues. Malware present on the users’ system is to blame – to be more precise, the Alureon rootkit and the changes it makes to Windows kernel binaries.

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That’s the story so far. Now here’s the update: Microsoft revised the installation packages for security bulletin MS10-015 and re-released it. According to Senior Security Communications Manager Lead, Jerry Bryant, the installation packages come with “new logic that prevents the security update from being installed on systems if certain abnormal conditions exist.” To put it bluntly, if the system is infected with a virus (like the troublesome Alureon rootkit) the update will not be installed. The user is presented with this standard error message:

“Your computer might not be compatible with Microsoft Security Update MS10-015. Proceeding with installation of the update could prevent your system from starting successfully. For additional information please visit http://www.microsoft.com/security/updates/015."

If you received the MS10-015 update the first time around and everything went along smoothly, it will not be offered to you once more.

Here are the details on security bulletin MS10-015:
Title: Vulnerabilities in Windows Kernel Could Allow Elevation of Privilege
Rating: Important
Description: One publicly disclosed and one privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerabilities could allow elevation of privilege if an attacker logged on to the system and then ran a specially crafted application. To exploit either vulnerability, an attacker must have valid logon credentials and be able to log on locally. The vulnerabilities could not be exploited remotely or by anonymous users.
Most likely attack vector: Attacker already able to execute code as low-privileged user escalates privileges.
Affected software: Microsoft Windows.



Tags: Microsoft, Patch Tuesday, Update, Security, Blue Screen of Death
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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