Microsoft announces security bug in its debugger

A security hole in the application used by Microsoft Corp. operating systems to debug programs while they are in use could allow an attacker to take control of applications running on affected systems, Microsoft said in a security bulletin Wednesday.

The vulnerability, which affects Windows NT 4.0 Server and Windows 2000, could allow an attacker to exploit a flaw in the authentication system used by the debugger to take control of a program and use it to launch others, Microsoft said. In order to do so, the attacker would have to have privileges allowing them to log on to the affected system and execute code, but once there, could run any commands in the same security context that the application runs in, the company said.

The vulnerability could be minimized by restricting users' ability to log on to mission-critical servers and by disallowing users to execute code, another requirement for attack, the Redmond, Washington, Microsoft said.

More information about the vulnerability, and the patches to fix it, are available at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms02-024.asp.

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