Duqu, or "son of Stuxnet" as some call it, is worrisome because it installs a keystroke logger and then can replicate itself, even across secure networks, using the passwords obtained. It communicates with other servers across the Internet, giving hackers access. The malware will remove itself after 30 days.
In its Security Advisory, Microsoft confirmed that it is seeing attacks in the wild, but downplayed the impact. The Advisory said, "Microsoft is investigating a vulnerability in a Microsoft Windows component, the Win32k TrueType font parsing engine. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could run arbitrary code in kernel mode. The attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. We are aware of targeted attacks that try to use the reported vulnerability; overall, we see low customer impact at this time. This vulnerability is related to the Duqu malware."
Nevertheless, Microsoft did release a "Fix-it" tool that allows IT professionals to manually disable the code with the hole in their systems. It does have some drawbacks in that, "Applications that rely on embedded font technology will fail to display properly," Microsoft warns. Additionally, IT professionals can also manually perform the fix by entering in a series of commands at an administrative prompt. The Fix-It is for all versions of Windows. Here is a link to it. The manual commands are available via Microsoft's Security Advisory, under "Workarounds."
Microsoft is still investigating if it will also release a patch. If so, this patch is not currently scheduled to be part of Tuesday's batch.
Julie Bort is the editor of Network World's Microsoft Subnet and Open Source Subnet communities. She writes the Microsoft Update and Source Seeker blogs. Follow Bort on Twitter @Julie188.
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