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Microsoft Security Bulletin MS14-054 - Important

Vulnerability in Windows Task Scheduler Could Allow Elevation of Privilege (2988948)

Published: September 9, 2014

Version: 1.0

General Information

Executive Summary

This security update resolves a privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerability could allow elevation of privilege if an attacker logs on to an affected system and runs a specially crafted application. An attacker must have valid logon credentials and be able to log on locally to exploit this vulnerability. The vulnerability could not be exploited remotely or by anonymous users.

This security update is rated Important for all supported editions of Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows RT, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows RT 8.1. For more information, see the Affected and Non-Affected Software section. The security update addresses the vulnerability by correcting how Task Scheduler conducts integrity checks on tasks. For more information about the vulnerability, see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) subsection for the specific vulnerability later in this bulletin.

Recommendation. Most customers have automatic updating enabled and will not need to take any action because this security update will be downloaded and installed automatically. For information about specific configuration options in automatic updating, see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 294871. For customers who do not have automatic updating enabled, the steps in Turn automatic updating on or off can be used to enable automatic updating. For administrators and enterprise installations, or end users who want to install this security update manually (including customers who have not enabled automatic updating), Microsoft recommends that customers apply the update at the earliest opportunity using update management software, or by checking for updates using the Microsoft Update service. The updates are also available via the download links in the Affected Software table later in this bulletin.

See also the section, Detection and Deployment Tools and Guidance, later in this bulletin.

Knowledge Base Article

  • Knowledge Base Article: 2988948
  • File Information: Yes
  • SHA1/SHA2 hashes: Yes
  • Known issues: None

 

The following software has been tested to determine which versions or editions are affected. Other versions or editions are either past their support life cycle or are not affected. To determine the support life cycle for your software version or edition, see Microsoft Support Lifecycle.

Affected Software 

Operating System

Maximum Security Impact

Aggregate Severity Rating

Updates Replaced

Windows 8 and Windows 8.1

Windows 8 for 32-bit Systems
(2988948)

Elevation of Privilege

Important

None

Windows 8 for x64-based Systems
(2988948)

Elevation of Privilege

Important

None

Windows 8.1 for 32-bit Systems [1]
(2988948)

Elevation of Privilege

Important

None

Windows 8.1 for x64-based Systems [1]
(2988948)

Elevation of Privilege

Important

None

Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2

Windows Server 2012
(2988948)

Elevation of Privilege

Important

None

Windows Server 2012 R2 [1]
(2988948)

Elevation of Privilege

Important

None

Windows RT and Windows RT 8.1

Windows RT[2]
(2988948)

Elevation of Privilege

Important

None

Windows RT 8.1[1][2]
(2988948)

Elevation of Privilege

Important

None

Server Core installation option

Windows Server 2012 (Server Core installation)
(2988948)

Elevation of Privilege

Important

None

Windows Server 2012 R2 (Server Core installation)[1]
(2988948)

Elevation of Privilege

Important

None

[1]This update is for systems that have the 2919355 update installed. See the Update FAQ for more information. 

[2]This update is available via Windows Update.

 

Non-Affected Software

Operating System

Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2

Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition Service Pack 2

Windows Server 2003 with SP2 for Itanium-based Systems

Windows Vista Service Pack 2

Windows Vista x64 Edition Service Pack 2

Windows Server 2008 for 32-bit Systems Service Pack 2

Windows Server 2008 for x64-based Systems Service Pack 2

Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems Service Pack 2

Windows 7 for 32-bit Systems Service Pack 1

Windows 7 for x64-based Systems Service Pack 1

Windows Server 2008 R2 for x64-based Systems Service Pack 1

Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-based Systems Service Pack 1

Server Core installation option

Windows Server 2008 for 32-bit Systems Service Pack 2 (Server Core installation)

Windows Server 2008 for x64-based Systems Service Pack 2 (Server Core installation)

Windows Server 2008 R2 for x64-based Systems Service Pack 1 (Server Core installation)

 

I am running Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, or Windows RT 8.1. Why am I not being offered the update? 
To be offered any security updates on Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, or Windows RT 8.1 the 2919355 update must be installed on the system.  For more information, see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 2919355.

I am using an older release of the software discussed in this security bulletin. What should I do? 
The affected software listed in this bulletin has been tested to determine which releases are affected. Other releases are past their support life cycle. For more information about the product lifecycle, see the Microsoft Support Lifecycle website.

It should be a priority for customers who have older releases of the software to migrate to supported releases to prevent potential exposure to vulnerabilities. To determine the support lifecycle for your software release, see Select a Product for Lifecycle Information. For more information about service packs for these software releases, see Service Pack Lifecycle Support Policy.

Customers who require custom support for older software must contact their Microsoft account team representative, their Technical Account Manager, or the appropriate Microsoft partner representative for custom support options. Customers without an Alliance, Premier, or Authorized Contract can contact their local Microsoft sales office. For contact information, see the Microsoft Worldwide Information website, select the country in the Contact Information list, and then click Go to see a list of telephone numbers. When you call, ask to speak with the local Premier Support sales manager. For more information, see the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ.

The following severity ratings assume the potential maximum impact of the vulnerability. For information regarding the likelihood, within 30 days of this security bulletin's release, of the exploitability of the vulnerability in relation to its severity rating and security impact, please see the Exploitability Index in the September bulletin summary. For more information, see Microsoft Exploitability Index.

Vulnerability Severity Rating and Maximum Security Impact by Affected Software

Affected Software

Task Scheduler Vulnerability - CVE-2014-4074

Aggregate Severity Rating

Windows 8 and Windows 8.1

Windows 8 for 32-bit Systems
(2988948)

Important 
Elevation of Privilege

Important

Windows 8 for x64-based Systems
(2988948)

Important 
Elevation of Privilege

Important

Windows 8.1 for 32-bit Systems
(2988948)

Important 
Elevation of Privilege

Important

Windows 8.1 for x64-based Systems
(2988948)

Important 
Elevation of Privilege

Important

Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2

Windows Server 2012
(2988948)

Important 
Elevation of Privilege

Important

Windows Server 2012 R2
(2988948)

Important 
Elevation of Privilege

Important

Windows RT and Windows RT 8.1

Windows RT
(2988948)

Important 
Elevation of Privilege

Important

Windows RT 8.1
(2988948)

Important 
Elevation of Privilege

Important

Server Core installation option

Windows Server 2012 (Server Core installation)
(2988948)

Important 
Elevation of Privilege

Important

Windows Server 2012 R2 (Server Core installation)
(2988948)

Important 
Elevation of Privilege

Important

 

An elevation of privilege vulnerability exists in how Windows Task Scheduler improperly conducts integrity checks on tasks. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could run arbitrary code in the security context of the local system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user right.

To view this vulnerability as a standard entry in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures list, see CVE-2014-4074.

Mitigating Factors

Mitigation refers to a setting, common configuration, or general best-practice, existing in a default state, that could reduce the severity of exploitation of a vulnerability. The following mitigating factors may be helpful in your situation:

  • An attacker must have valid logon credentials and be able to log on locally to exploit this vulnerability. The vulnerability could not be exploited remotely or by anonymous users.

Workarounds

Workaround refers to a setting or configuration change that does not correct the underlying vulnerability but would help block known attack vectors before you apply the update. Microsoft has tested the following workarounds and states in the discussion whether a workaround reduces functionality:

  • Turn off the Task Scheduler service

    Note Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk. For information about how to edit the registry, view the "Changing Keys And Values" Help topic in Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) or view the "Add and Delete Information in the Registry" and "Edit Registry Data" Help topics in Regedt32.exe.

    1. Click Start, click Run, type Regedit in the Open box, and then click OK.
    2. Locate and then select the following registry key:
      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\Schedule
    3. Double-click the Start key, change its value from 2 to 4, and then click OK.
    4. Exit Registry Editor, and then restart the computer.

    Impact of workaround. The user will be unable to run scheduled tasks on the computer. Be advised that this could have an adverse impact on processes that rely on Task Scheduler.

    How to undo the workaround. 

    1. Click Start, click Run, type Regedit in the Open box, and then click OK.
    2. Locate and then select the following registry key:
      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\Schedule
    3. Double-click the Start key, change its value from 4 to 2, and then click OK.
    4. Exit Registry Editor, and then restart the computer.

FAQ

What is the scope of the vulnerability? 
This is an elevation of privilege vulnerability. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could execute arbitrary code and take complete control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

What causes the vulnerability? 
The vulnerability is caused when Windows Task Scheduler improperly conducts integrity checks on tasks.

What is Windows Task Scheduler? 
Task Scheduler is a Windows service that enables the automation of routine tasks on a chosen computer. Task Scheduler does this by monitoring the criteria the user has chosen for initiating tasks (referred to as triggers) and then executing the tasks when the criteria has been met. For more information, see the MSDN Library entry, Task Scheduler.

What might an attacker use the vulnerability to do? 
An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could run arbitrary code in the security context of the local system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

How could an attacker exploit the vulnerability? 
To exploit this vulnerability, an attacker would first have to log on to the system. An attacker could then run a specially crafted application that could exploit the vulnerability and take complete control over an affected system.

What systems are primarily at risk from the vulnerability? 
Workstations and terminal servers are primarily at risk. Servers could be at more risk if administrators allow users to log on to servers and to run programs. However, best practices strongly discourage allowing this.

What does the update do? 
The update addresses the vulnerability by correcting how Task Scheduler conducts integrity checks on tasks.

When this security bulletin was issued, had this vulnerability been publicly disclosed? 
No. Microsoft received information about this vulnerability through coordinated vulnerability disclosure.

When this security bulletin was issued, had Microsoft received any reports that this vulnerability was being exploited? 
No. Microsoft had not received any information to indicate that this vulnerability had been publicly used to attack customers when this security bulletin was originally issued.

Several resources are available to help administrators deploy security updates. 

  • Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) lets administrators scan local and remote systems for missing security updates and common security misconfigurations. 
  • Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Systems Management Server (SMS), and System Center Configuration Manager help administrators distribute security updates. 
  • The Update Compatibility Evaluator components included with Application Compatibility Toolkit aid in streamlining the testing and validation of Windows updates against installed applications. 

For information about these and other tools that are available, see Security Tools for IT Pros

Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 (all editions)

Reference Table

The following table contains the security update information for this software.

Security update file name

For all supported 32-bit editions of Windows 8:
Windows8-RT-KB2988948-x86.msu


For all supported x64-based editions of Windows 8:
Windows8-RT-KB2988948-x64.msu


For all supported 32-bit editions of Windows 8.1:
Windows8.1-KB2988948-x86.msu


For all supported x64-based editions of Windows 8.1:
Windows8.1-KB2988948-x64.msu

Installation switches

See Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 934307

Restart requirement

Yes, you must restart your system after you apply this security update.

Removal information

To uninstall an update installed by WUSA, use the /Uninstall setup switch or click Control Panel, click System and Security, click Windows Update, and then under See also, click Installed updates and select from the list of updates.

File information

See Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 2988948

Registry key verification

Note A registry key does not exist to validate the presence of this update.

 

Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 (all editions)

Reference Table

The following table contains the security update information for this software.

Security update file name

For all supported editions of Windows Server 2012:
Windows8-RT-KB2988948-x64.msu


For all supported editions of Windows Server 2012 R2:
Windows8.1-KB2988948-x64.msu

Installation switches

See Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 934307

Restart requirement

Yes, you must restart your system after you apply this security update.

Removal information

To uninstall an update installed by WUSA, use the /Uninstall setup switch or click Control Panel, click System and Security, click Windows Update, and then under See also, click Installed updates and select from the list of updates.

File information

See Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 2988948

Registry key verification

Note A registry key does not exist to validate the presence of this update.

 

Windows RT and Windows RT 8.1 (all editions)

Reference Table

The following table contains the security update information for this software.

Deployment

These updates are available via Windows Update only.

Restart Requirement

Yes, you must restart your system after you apply this security update.

Removal Information

Click Control Panel, click System and Security, click Windows Update, and then under See also, click Installed updates and select from the list of updates.

File Information

See Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 2988948

 

Microsoft thanks the following for working with us to help protect customers:

Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP)

To improve security protections for customers, Microsoft provides vulnerability information to major security software providers in advance of each monthly security update release. Security software providers can then use this vulnerability information to provide updated protections to customers via their security software or devices, such as antivirus, network-based intrusion detection systems, or host-based intrusion prevention systems. To determine whether active protections are available from security software providers, please go to the active protections websites provided by program partners, listed in Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP) Partners.

Support

How to obtain help and support for this security update

Disclaimer

The information provided in the Microsoft Knowledge Base is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Microsoft disclaims all warranties, either express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. In no event shall Microsoft Corporation or its suppliers be liable for any damages whatsoever including direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, loss of business profits or special damages, even if Microsoft Corporation or its suppliers have been advised of the possibility of such damages. Some states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of liability for consequential or incidental damages so the foregoing limitation may not apply.

Revisions

  • V1.0 (September 9, 2014): Bulletin published.

Page generated 2014-09-09 15:51Z-07:00.
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