mailing list archives
Re: RE: Unchecked buffer in mstask.dll
From: Nick FitzGerald <nick () virus-l demon co uk>
Date: Thu, 15 Jul 2004 15:03:49 +1200
"Jordan Cole (stilist)" <stilist () gmail com> to Paul Szabo:
Being curious, on Win2k, I copied cmd.exe (from winnt\system32) as xyz.pif;
then (right-click) Properties, Program crashes explorer.
I had to specifically click on the "Program" tab, which evoked a null-
pointer read attempt (at a guess, something in the .PIF parser assumes
a length or offset will always be >0 so doesn't do any sanity checking,
and/or some higher level routines don't do any checking).
I'd say that's because you changed the filetype; pif files simply
contain information on how to handle a DOS executable; they aren't a
program themselves. All you did was make it get confused and kill
Yeah, but how long is it now since we've been telling programmers
"don't trust user-supplied data"?? (Hmmmm -- does it also fail on
And don't you also find the inconsistencies this throws up at least
Rename a PE executable to a .PIF extension, right click, ask to see the
file's properties and splat -- whatever code is invoked to handle that
task dies a stupid, if not ugly, death because internally the file is
the wrong type. However, if you double-click that renamed file it is
executed as if nothing is amiss.
And to think that some folk will see this as further reason to enforce
their belief that when it comes to security and code quality, Microsoft
really just doesn't get it...
Why did MS make ".EXE files renamed as .PIF" execute "properly"? Aside
from "because we can", I'd not be at all surprised if it was on some
internal "stupid user tricks we should eliminate support calls for"
list. But, whatever the reason, did anyone at Microsoft give two
milliseconds of thought to the security (or other) consequences of that
design decision? I seriously doubt it and I'm sure I'm far from alone
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RE: Unchecked buffer in mstask.dll Thor Larholm (Jul 15)
RE: RE: Unchecked buffer in mstask.dll Polazzo Justin (Jul 25)