Microsoft Security Bulletin MS99-036 - Critical
Windows NT 4.0 Does Not Delete Unattended Installation File
Published: September 10, 1999
Originally Posted: September 10, 1999
When an unattended installation of Microsoft® Windows NT® 4.0 completes, a copy of the file that contains installation parameters remains on the hard drive. Depending on the method that was used to perform the installation and the specific installation parameters that were selected, the file could contain sensitive information, potentially including the local Administrator password.
Frequently asked questions regarding this vulnerability can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/fq99-036.mspx
When an unattended installation of Windows NT 4.0 is performed, the installation parameters are included in a file named Unattend.txt. A vulnerability exists because the installation process copies the parameter file to a file in %windir%\system32 ($winnt$.inf for a normal unattended installation, or $nt4pre$.inf if Sysprep was used) but does not delete it when the installation completes. By default, this file can be read by any user who can perform an interactive logon. If sensitive information such as account passwords were provided in the installation parameters file, the information could be compromised.
As discussed in the FAQ, the degree of risk from this vulnerability varies depending on the particular installation. However, in general, workstations and terminal servers deployed using the Sysprep tool would be at greatest risk from it.
Affected Software Versions
- Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0
- Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0
- Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0, Enterprise Edition
- Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition
Vulnerability Identifier: CVE-1999-0701
Customers performing unattended installations of Windows NT 4.0 should ensure that they either review the file and erase any sensitive information such as account information and passwords, or delete the file altogether.
Please see the following references for more information related to this issue.
- Microsoft Security Bulletin MS99-036: Frequently Asked Questions, http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/fq99-036.mspx.
- System Preparation Tool, http://support.microsoft.com/kb/195446
- Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) article 173039, Unattended Setup Parameters for Unattend.txt File, http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;155197&sd=tech.
- Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) article 158484, INFO: How to Set the Administrator Password During Unattended Setup,
- Microsoft Security web site, http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/default.mspx.
Note It may take 24 hours from the original posting of this bulletin for the KB articles to be visible.
Obtaining Support on this Issue
Information on contacting Microsoft Technical Support is available at http://support.microsoft.com/contactussupport/?ws=support.
Microsoft acknowledges Nets & Webs, Brisbane, Australia, for bringing this issue to our attention.
- September 10, 1999: Bulletin Created.
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