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Re: Insufficient Authentication vulnerability in Acer notebooks

Hello Susan!

If Microsoft did it, than it's good. But better for my opinion to do such as
in Windows XP Professional - not to disable admin account by default, but to
make password of default admin account similar to password of first admin
(during installation process). Because if default admin account will be
enabled later (with empty password) and will forget to set new password,
than it'll be much worse.

I'm not using Vista, so I can't check this issue on any of my computers. And
I want to check it by myself - is there such issue on Vista or not. For this
I'm planning to check one notebook of my friend (with Vista). But for more
than two weeks I couldn't meet with him and take his notebook. I quickly
checked two Asus notebook of my friends (as I wrote already to bugtraq), but
there is some delay with this Acer notebook with Vista. If in near time I'll
not be able to meet with my friend to take his notebook (because he is
busy), then I'll try to check this situation on one Samsung notebook of
another friend of mine (and better to check both these notebooks).

There are many versions of Vista, so there can be such situation with
different versions of Vista as with XP, where XP Home and XP Professional
have different situations with default admin accounts. Which leads to
vulnerability in XP Home. So I'm planning to investigate different versions
of Windows Vista to be sure.

Best wishes & regards,
Administrator of Websecurity web site

----- Original Message ----- From: "Susan Bradley" <sbradcpa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: "MustLive" <mustlive@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: <bugtraq@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 3:42 AM
Subject: Re: Insufficient Authentication vulnerability in Acer notebooks

Microsoft agrees with you which is why they disable the admin account by
default in Vista.

MustLive wrote:

Just came to securityfocus.com and found that there are some answers on
my post about Insufficient Authentication vulnerability in Acer

Is not that a simple design decission? (truly brain-dead, but a
conscious decission).

David, it's very bad design decision. As for Microsoft (if we will be
claiming that it's hole in Windows XP), as for Acer (because they use
their own program for first OS initialization process, so it's definitely
vulnerability in Acer).

And also for Asus - recently I wrote to bugtraq about similar
vulnerability in Asus notebook.

That is I standard issue with Windows XP.

Dave, this is not standard issue for all versions Windows XP. It can be
only issue of XP Home Edition (because I found such cases only in XP HE),
but I'm investigating it now to be completely sure in it.

In all Windows XP (in all versions with which I worked from 2001), after
installation the default Administrator account's password was always set
equal to first admin's password.

I used a lot of different Windows XP (XP Professional and also XP Home on
two notebooks). And in all versions from original (Gold) to SP1 and SP2
(didn't work with XP's installations with SP3) it was the same behavior
(except these two notebooks with XP Home). So normal behavior for Windows
is to set default admin's password equal to first admin's password.

With any installation of it you have to boot in safe mode and manually
set a password on the hidden admin account.

In XP Professional default admin account is not hidden, only in XP Home
Edition. And default admin password can be changed not only in safe mode,
but in normal mode from any admin account (in both XP Professional and XP
HE). Particularly it can be done in command prompt with "net" command.

Try the "net user password ..." command (from the CMD prompt). That'll
save you from having to do it in safe mode.

Garrett, you mean the next command:

net user Administrator password


If in XP Professional you can use GUI or command prompt to change default
admin's password, then in XP HE you can only use command prompt (due to
Windows XP HE limitations).


People, I'm not subscribed to bugtraq, so if you want to answer me, than
write directly to my email.

Best wishes & regards,
Administrator of Websecurity web site