Patch Available for 'Malformed IPX NMPI Packet' Vulnerability
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Originally posted: October 11, 2000
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Microsoft has released a patch that eliminates a security vulnerability in Microsoft® Windows 95, Windows 98, 98 Second Edition and Windows Me. The vulnerability could be used to cause an affected system to fail, and depending on the number of affected machines on a network, potentially could be used to flood the network with superfluous data. The affected system component normally is present only if it has been deliberately installed.
Frequently asked questions regarding this vulnerability and the patch can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/MS00-073.mspx.
The Microsoft IPX/SPX protocol implementation (NWLink) includes an NMPI (Name Management Protocol on IPX) listener that will reply to any requesting network address. The NMPI listener software does not filter the requesting computer's network address correctly, and will therefore reply to a network broadcast address. Such a reply would in turn cause other IPX NMPI listener programs to also reply. This sequence of broadcast replies could generate a large amount of unnecessary network traffic. A machine that crashed due to this vulnerability could be put back into service by rebooting.
IPX is not installed by default in Windows 98, 98 Second Edition, or Windows Me, and is only installed by default in Windows 95 if there is a network card present in the machine at installation time. Even when IPX is installed, a malicious user's ability to exploit this vulnerability would depend on whether he could deliver a malformed NMPI packet to an affected machine. Routers frequently are configured to drop IPX packets, and if such a router lay between the malicious user and an affected machine, he could not attack it. Routers on the Internet, as a rule, do not forward IPX packets, and this would tend to protect intranets from outside attack, as well as protecting machines connected to the Internet via dial-up connections. As discussed in the FAQ, the most likely scenario in which this vulnerability could be exploited would be one in which a malicious user on an intranet would attack affected machines on the same intranet, or one in which a malicious user on the Internet attacked affected machines on his cable modem or DSL subnet.
Affected Software Versions
Microsoft Windows 95
Microsoft Windows 98
Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition
Microsoft Windows Me
Microsoft Windows 95
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Please see the following references for more information related to this issue.
Frequently Asked Questions: Microsoft Security Bulletin MS00-073, http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/MS00-073.mspx
Microsoft Knowledge Base article 273727 discusses this issue and will be available soon.
Microsoft TechNet Security web site, http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/default.mspx
Obtaining Support on this Issue
This is a fully supported patch. Information on contacting Microsoft Product Support Services is available at http://support.microsoft.com/support/contact/default.asp.
October 11, 2000: Bulletin Created.
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