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Microsoft Security Bulletin MS99-007 - Critical

Patch Available for Taskpads Scripting Vulnerability

Published: February 22, 1999 | Updated: March 10, 2003

Version: 2.0

Patch Availability Information Updated: March 10, 2003
Originally Posted: February 22, 1999

Summary

Microsoft has released a patch that eliminates a vulnerability in the Taskpads feature, which is provided as part of the Microsoft® Windows® 98 Resource Kit, Windows 98 Resource Kit Sampler, and BackOffice® Resource Kit, second edition. The vulnerability could allow a malicious web site operator to run executables on the computer of a visiting user. Only customers who have installed one of the affected products and who surf the web using the machines on which they are installed are at risk from this vulnerability.

A fully supported patch is available to remove the Taskpads functionality, and Microsoft recommends that affected customers download and install it.

Issue

Taskpads is a feature provided by several Microsoft Windows Resource Kit products, as detailed below in Affected Software Versions. It is part of the Resource Kits' Tools Management Console Snap-in, and allows users to view and run Resource Kit Tools via an HTML page rather than through the standard Large Icon, Small, Icon, List, and Detailed Views. A vulnerability exists because certain methods provided by Taskpads are incorrectly marked as "safe for scripting" and can be misused by a web site operator to invoke executables on a visiting user's workstation without their knowledge or permission.

The affected products are, by default, not installed on Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT®. The Windows 98 Resource Kit and Resource Kit Sampler can only be installed on Windows 98. The BackOffice Resource Kit can be installed on Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT, but is most commonly installed on Windows NT servers, which, per recommended security practices, usually will not be used for web surfing.

While there have not been any reports of customers being adversely affected by these problems, Microsoft is releasing a patch to proactively address this issue. The patch for this issue works by removing the Taskpads functionality, which is rarely used. It does not affect any other features of the affected products.

Affected Software Versions

  • Microsoft Windows 98 Resource Kit
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Resource Kit Sampler (included as part of Windows 98 but not installed by default)
  • Microsoft BackOffice Resource Kit, second edition

Vulnerability Identifier: CVE-1999-0379

What Microsoft is Doing

Microsoft has released patches that fix the problem identified. The patches are available for download from the sites listed below in What Customers Should Do.

Microsoft also has sent this security bulletin to customers subscribing to the Microsoft Product Security Notification Service. See The Microsoft Product Security Notification Service for more information about this free customer service.

Microsoft has published the following Knowledge Base (KB) article on this issue:

What customers should do

Microsoft highly recommends that all affected customers download the appropriate patch to protect their computers. The patches can be found at:

More Information

Please see the following references for more information related to this issue.

Obtaining Support on this Issue

If you require technical assistance with this issue, please contact Microsoft Technical Support. For information on contacting Microsoft Technical Support, please see http://support.microsoft.com/contactussupport/?ws=support.

Acknowledgments

Microsoft would like to acknowledge Adrian O'Neill for discovering this issue and bringing it to our attention.

Revisions

  • February 22, 1999: Bulletin Created
  • V2.0 (March 10, 2003): Introduced versioning and updated patch availability information

For additional security-related information about Microsoft products, please visit http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security

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