Windows NT suffered another blow today as a large corporation exposed a further problem with security in the operating system.
Earlier this week, US company Midwestern Commerce (MC) used a utility that it designed itself to discover a security flaw in versions 3.5x and 4.0 of Windows NT, which it said made the system unreliable. The operating system has had an unknown number of fixes and patches in its most recent revisions.
This new security problem followed claims by software company Stac last week that Windows NT ?crashed all the time? and that Microsoft did not bundle sufficient ability to back up the server when it went down.
MC said: ?It is explicitly stated by Microsoft and accepted by the NT user community that, in order to access resources on an NT computer, a remote user should go through a log on process and either present a valid user name and a password or log on as guest if the guest account is enabled.?
The IT department said that the flaw allowed users to log on remotely, gaining the same set of rights and accessing the same resources as the ?Everyone? group, regardless of whether the guest account is enabled or not. Full details are on its home page at www.ntsecurity.com/redbutton/.
That meant that anyone who had networked access to the target computer could log on remotely without presenting a user name and password, the company continued.
David Bridger, NT Server product manager at Microsoft UK, said: ?This is not a bug. The company wrote a utility to attack NT. We certainly don?t see the fact they did this as a negative thing. It?s useful for customers to attack the NT system.?
He said Microsoft had written a utility to disable the problem. ?We are going to address this problem because security is important. We are not posting a fix but a way for people to turn off the Registry default.?
Meanwhile, Microsoft confirmed it has put its Thor software into beta test. The software is intended to make NT more enterprise-ready and use OLE DB as the common file interface, linking it to mainframe data. A representative for Microsoft UK said she was unable to say when the beta will be completed but Thor and two other planned Microsoft products, Cedar and Cakewalk, are all aimed at growing corporate market share. All these increase NT's integration with legacy systems such as IBM's System Network Architecture.
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