Microsoft fixes Intel ZombieLoad bug with Patch Tuesday updates

Ruben Fields
May 15, 2019

Out-of-support operating systems such as Windows XP and Windows 2003 are also affected by the critical CVE-2019-0708 flaw, with users of these Windows versions having to either upgrade to newer releases or to apply the security updates available via KB4500705.

Due to the danger it presents, Microsoft has released security updates for all of them (those for out-of-support Windows versions can be found here).

The flaw is pre-authentication and requires no user interaction.

There is now no indication that the flaw is already being exploited, but Microsoft said it is "highly likely" that malicious actors will soon write an exploit to incorporate it into malware.

"We are taking the unusual step of providing a security update for all customers to protect Windows platforms, including some out-of-support versions of Windows", the Microsoft Security Response Team wrote in a blog posting today. We're not sure if Window Update will still run on Windows XP, but if not, Microsoft has patches for XP SP3, and for 64-bit XP SP2, that you can manually download here. Four handle remote code execution vulnerabilties in the Windows dynamic host control protocol (DHCP) server that assigns internet protocol addresses to clients, as well as flaws in the GDI+ graphics rendering component and Microsoft Word.

Microsoft advises that "all affected systems - irrespective of whether NLA is enabled or not - should be updated as soon as possible". An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

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'There is partial mitigation on affected systems that have Network Level Authentication (NLA) enabled.

Microsoft's May 2019 Patch Tuesday fixed 79 vulnerabilities, 19 of which are classed as Critical.

The WannaCry ransomware threat spread quickly across the world in May 2017 using a vulnerability that was particularly prevalent among systems running Windows XP and older versions of Windows.

Security researchers have shown it is possible to exploit MDS vulnerabilities with attacks such as rogue in-flight data load (RIDL) and Fallout to glean secrets and sensitive information such as password and digital keys on recent Intel processors.

Elsewhere, IT admins should also fix a zero-day flaw (CVE-2019-0863), which is being exploited in the wild and has also been publicly disclosed, meaning other hackers could use it in their own attacks.

Fixing the MDS side-channel vulnerabilities will require micro-code updates from Intel for processors, along with updates to operating systems and hypervisors.

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