The Windows Shell vulnerability is caused because of improper usage of shortcuts in the system. It drew the attention of all the users as the cyber criminals used this problem to spread the Malware targeting SCADA systems. These systems generally include single input and output, networks, and software. The attacks made by using the Windows Shell vulnerability were generally small and it is just implemented to organizations which run on SCADA systems. The Malware which is transferred in these attacks attempts to disturb the default settings so that it can access the information of that system. When it does not succeed, then the whole attack fails. Microsoft has issued a warning about the critical vulnerability in Windows Shell.
Microsoft vulnerability warning
The warning issued by Microsoft about the susceptibility is initiated because of an error in Windows Shell when parsing shortcuts (.lnk). A specially designed shortcut can help automatically to exploit the defect by just running or implementing a program. This susceptibility is initiated in the system as some parameters of the .lnk are not properly verified on the load. Microsoft announced that they have observed only limited and targeted attacks on the systems using this vulnerability. Microsoft also confirmed that this threat can also be possible via sharing in the networks. When the user clicks the icon of a specially designed shortcut a malicious code will be also made to run as the shortcuts are wrongly analyzed in the windows. Removable drives play a big role in the attack in making an easy execution of this vulnerability. Users should have to browse to the root folder of the removable disk manually so that the vulnerability is achieved for the systems which have the option of Auto Play disabled.
Vulnerability threats to Windows 7
The vulnerability can threaten all versions of Windows operating systems including Windows 7. The vulnerability is more on Windows 7.As it does not require administrative privileges to run a program. It can easily bypass the security of the windows 7 operating system. Microsoft suggested the users that they can stop the attacks by taking some simple step as disabling the icons of shortcuts and turning off the services of web client. But, disabling shortcut icons will lead to a great confusion for the normal customers and stopping web client services is also not possible as the Microsoft sharepoint will become useless.
Microsoft is working really hard to release a patch for the vulnerability to decrease, but it won’t be an easy task for them. They have given some guidelines and suggestions for users to control the vulnerability and also a tool to employ them. Until a patch is officially released by Microsoft, administrators and users will need to be in an alert state. They should not visit any malicious site and should take the required care to avoid the attacks. The attacks can be reduced by taking help of anti Virus programs in the system and by keeping it up to date. Caution is the best defense to fight out the windows shell critical vulnerability.