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Windows 10 users have been put on high alert about a dangerous new flaw found inside the operating system. Dubbed SeriousSAM, it allows bad actors to gain administrator rights on vulnerable systems – enabling them to install applications, delete files, and more. SeriousSAM is what’s known as a “zero-day vulnerability”, which means that attackers are already aware of the flaw and know how to leverage it.
While Microsoft is hard at work on a permanent fix for the problem, which it refers to as CVE-2021-36934, the Redmond-based company has shared a workaround to protect your laptop, desktop PC, or tablet from attackers.
“An elevation of privilege vulnerability exists because of overly permissive Access Control Lists (ACLs) on multiple system files, including the Security Accounts Manager (SAM) database,” Microsoft explains in a security advisory published earlier this week. “An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. An attacker must have the ability to execute code on a victim system to exploit this vulnerability.”
This latest zero-day vulnerability impacts all versions of Windows launched from October 2018 to present.
Windows 10 users could pay a monthly fee to unlock Windows 11
Microsoft has shared the following steps to block exploitation of this vulnerability until the final fix arrives…
Restrict access to the contents of %windir%system32config:
- Open Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell as an administrator.
- Run this command: icacls %windir%system32config*.* /inheritance:e
Delete Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) shadow copies:
- Delete any System Restore points and Shadow volumes that existed prior to restricting access to %windir%system32config
- Create a new System Restore point (if desired)
Security blog Bleeping Computer adds that users should be aware that deleting these shadow copies from their systems could impact some system and file restore operations, for example, if you use a third-party backup app to restore data.
“We are investigating and will take appropriate action as needed to help keep customers protected,” a spokesperson for Microsoft told the blog.
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