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[ISN] BITS Gives Bad Guys an Inroad

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=== CONTENTS ===================================================

IN FOCUS: BITS Gives Bad Guys an Inroad

   - Microsoft Redesigns Security Bulletins and Advanced Notifications
   - Verizon Expands Security Offerings Via CyberTrust Acquisition
   - Enterprise Wireless Routers Buyers Guide
   - Recent Security Vulnerabilities

   - Security Matters Blog: Time to Upgrade Samba and PHP
   - FAQ: Check a Folder for a File Type 
   - From the Forum: Network Access for Services
   - Product Evaluations from the Real World
   - Share Your Security Tips

   - Finding Malicious Content in Email Message Bodies




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=== IN FOCUS: BITS Gives Bad Guys an Inroad =============
   by Mark Joseph Edwards, News Editor, mark at ntsecurity / net

Malware developers have been using Microsoft's Background Intelligent 
Transfer Service (BITS) to download software to Windows systems for 
quite some time. Using BITS is logical because it's designed to 
download files and is a standard part of all supported Windows OSs. 
BITS takes advantage of unused bandwidth to help optimize network 
usage, which makes its activity less noticeable to a user. 

One problem in defending against this misuse is that BITS is used by 
Windows Update, Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS), Microsoft 
Messenger, and other tools, so it's typically trusted by firewalls to 
move traffic in and out of the network. Another problem in preventing 
malware developers from using BITS is that when a malicious application 
downloads files with it, the traffic is seen as coming from BITS and 
not the application itself. 

Firewall leak testers have long known about the potential danger of 
BITS and have openly discussed the matter for over a year. At least one 
program, bits_tester.exe (at the first URL below), is available that 
works with Microsoft's bitsadmin.exe tool (in the Windows XP SP2 
Support Tools at the second URL below) to demonstrate how BITS can 
easily download files from Web servers. 

According to Guillaume Kaddouch of the Firewall Leak Tester Web site, 
the only way to currently control BITS activity is to limit the ability 
of svchost.exe (on XP and later Windows versions) or services.exe (on 
Windows 2000) to communicate over the network. So for example, if you 
want to better guarantee that BITS will be used only for file transfers 
on your network or between your network and Microsoft's software update 
sites, then you need to implement a deny-all policy for svchost.exe or 
services.exe and make specific exceptions for hosts that you want to 
receive content from through BITS. Keep in mind that because Microsoft 
also makes a BITS API available for developers to use, you might need 
to make exceptions for other legitimate desktop applications that use 
BITS to download their updates or other content. 

The danger of malware misusing BITS isn't limited to software 
downloads. BITS can also become a significant source of information 
leakage because it can upload files too, although doing so requires 
that BITS upload to a Microsoft IIS server with BITS extensions 
installed. Here again, a deny-all policy can help. 

Elia Florio brought the BITS problem to light again this month in a 
post on the Symantec Security Response blog (at the URL below) in which 
Florio suggested that Microsoft could improve the security of BITS. 
"It's not easy to check what BITS should download and not download," he 
wrote. "Probably the BITS interface should be designed to be accessible 
only with a higher level of privilege, or ... BITS should be restricted 
to only [download content from] trusted URLs."

Microsoft hasn't said much about the issue of BITS being misused or 
whether the company intends to add any layers of security for it. While 
we're all waiting to find out, you do need to protect your systems in 
case your other security solutions fail to detect malware that might 
misuse BITS. I did a bit of checking to put together a list of URLs for 
sites that BITS might use to download files and updates from Microsoft. 
The list below is probably not complete, but you can use it to start 
building firewall rules. Keep in mind that you might need to add the
usual HTTP or HTTPS prefix to the server addresses below, depending on
your firewall rule requirements. I've noted the two addresses that
require HTTPS access; the others require regular HTTP access. 

*.windowsupdate.microsoft.com (HTTPS required)
*.update.microsoft.com (HTTPS required)

If your rule mechanism allows for it, you could simplify the matter by 
allowing BITS to access *.windowsupdate.com, *.microsoft.com, and 
*.windows.com over both HTTP and HTTPS. 

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=== SECURITY NEWS AND FEATURES =================================

Microsoft Redesigns Security Bulletins and Advanced Notifications
   Advanced notifications will provide more information, and security 
bulletins will have decision-making information at the top.

Verizon Expands Security Offerings Via CyberTrust Acquisition
   Verizon Business announced that it will acquire CyberTrust, a 
privately held security services provider. Terms of the deal were not 
disclosed, however the two companies expect the transaction to be 
completed sometime in the next 60 to 90 days.

Enterprise Wireless Routers
   Selecting the hardware and configuration for your company's wireless 
network is a complicated and daunting task. The most important criteria 
for purchasing an enterprise wireless router are network standards and 
speed, security, and dependability. Learn more in our Buyer's Guide. 

Recent Security Vulnerabilities
   If you subscribe to this newsletter, you also receive Security 
Alerts, which inform you about recently discovered security 
vulnerabilities. You can also find information about these 
discoveries at

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=== GIVE AND TAKE ==============================================

SECURITY MATTERS BLOG: Time to Upgrade Samba and PHP 
   by Mark Joseph Edwards, http://list.windowsitpro.com/t?ctl=573FC:57B62BBB09A69279661DBC84E7D40DD5

If you're using Samba for Linux and Windows interoperability or PHP to 
drive applications on your Web servers or desktops, you should upgrade 
those tools soon. The new releases of both Samba and PHP contain fixes 
for several security problems and new features. Learn more at 

FAQ: Check a Folder for a File Type
   by John Savill, http://list.windowsitpro.com/t?ctl=573F9:57B62BBB09A69279661DBC84E7D40DD5 

Q: How can I quickly check whether a folder contains a certain type of 

Find the answer at

FROM THE FORUM: Network Access for Services
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also needs network access, but the participant is having trouble 
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attempts network access. Join the discussion at

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Finding Malicious Content in Email Message Bodies
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