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December 23rd, 2008

Unpatched Vulnerability In Microsoft’s SQL Server

Microsoft admitted its SQL Server database software is vulnerable to code injection attacks. It’s not a new flaw since Microsoft issued a pre-patch advisory confirming a remote code execution vulnerability affecting its SQL Server line. The security bug affects Microsoft SQL Server 2000, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and Windows Internal Database, in certain configurations. Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 Service Pack 4, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 3, and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 are immune from the flaw.

The software giant stated that although exploit code exists it hasn’t received any reports of attacks. The vulnerability publicly disclosed with exploit code more than two weeks ago

Secunia reports that the flaw is the same bug discovered by SEC Consulting, which published an advisory on the security bug on 4 December. SEC Consulting only did this after months of dialogue with Microsoft.

A separate zero-day vulnerability became the subject of an out-of-sequence patch. That flaw is being hit far harder than the SQL server bug, which arguably presents a lower general risk for internet hygiene. Microsoft said it’s investigating the SQL Server flaw, which past form would suggest is a candidate for a patch in either January or February as part of Microsoft’s regular Patch Tuesday update cycle.

Hackers often use vulnerabilities in database software to plant malicious script that hijack internet sessions to serve up exploit code from systems under their control. The tactic forms the basis of drive-by download attacks, a class of assault that’s become a preferred distribution route for Trojan code over recent years.

More details and workarounds can be found in the advisory.

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