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More RPC attacks loom imminent for Windows platforms

When Microsoft released the first warning about RPC vulnerabilities on July 16, 2003 in security bulletin MS03-026, it took virus writers about 26 days to get the first version of the Blaster worm onto the wires (see Ed Hurley's excellent news story on this subject. By mid-September, we've seen six or more variants of the Blaster worm; in addition, the Welchia and Nachi worms have exploited the same vulnerability.

On September 10, 2003, Microsoft released security bulletin MS03-039, entitled "Buffer Overrun In RPCSS Service Could Allow Code Execution," which essentially documents more problems with RPC code in the same area of code that led to MS03-026 and subsequent infections. Security and virus experts have been quick to note that because existing Blaster, Nachi and Welchia code can be easily altered to exploit these new vulnerabilities, new worms or other malware that exploits these vulnerabilities could appear in days, not weeks.

How can organizations head off such attacks? Given that the last round of exploits compromised over half a million systems and networks, here's the expert consensus on how to fend future RPC exploits off.

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