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RPC Vulnerability Affects NT, W2K, XP

Microsoft on Wednesday warned users of an "important" new vulnerability involving the Remote Procedure Call (RPC) protocol in Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP that can allow a denial-of-service attack.

While a patch is available for Windows 2000 and Windows XP, Redmond cited architectural issues as preventing the company from creating a patch for Windows NT 4.0. The company provided workaround instructions, instead, for NT customers in the bulletin (www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/MS03-010.asp).

Microsoft's bulletin said servers on an intranet were the most likely to be vulnerable to the attack. The company went further to suggest that responsible network security practices should prevent the vulnerability from being open on Internet servers. "Best practices recommend blocking all TCP/IP ports that are not actually being used," the bulletin stated. "For this reason, most machines attached to the Internet should have port 135 blocked. RPC over TCP is not intended to be used in hostile environments such as the Internet."

The bulletin is Microsoft's 10th of 2003.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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