Security UPDATE: Exchange Server SMTP AUTH Attacks


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Windows Scripting Solutions


1. In Focus: New Exploits and a New Security Toolkit

2. Security News and Features

- Recent Security Vulnerabilities

- News: Remote Root Exploit Against IIS Servers

- News: TCP Vulnerabilities

- Feature: Exchange Server SMTP AUTH Attacks

3. Security Toolkit


- Featured Thread

4. New and Improved

- Secure Your Passwords


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==== 1. In Focus: New Exploits and a New Security Toolkit ====

by Mark Joseph Edwards, News Editor, mark at ntsecurity dot net

One of the security patches that Microsoft released in the Microsoft Security Bulletin MS04-011 on April 13 fixes a serious problem in the Private Communications Technology (PCT) protocol, which is part of Microsoft's Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) implementation. If you haven't patched your production systems yet, consider doing so immediately because exploits have already been released that can provide remote access to an intruder. So your unpatched systems are sitting ducks.

If you can't load the patch for some reason, consider disabling PCT, which you can do by adjusting a particular registry key. For more information about disabling PCT, see "Information about code that attempts to exploit PCT in SSL" at

You also need to be aware of the recently reported TCP-reset vulnerability, which affects many devices, including routers. As you'll learn in the related news story below, exploiting the vulnerability causes routers to drop connections, including important border gateway protocol (BGP) sessions. A new Windows-based exploit tool was recently released, so be sure to check with your router vendors to determine whether their particular products are affected. If they are, install the latest updates.

You should ensure your Intrusion Detection System (IDS) has the most recent rules and signatures available. For example, new Snort rules became available on April 25 as I was writing this editorial. So if you use Snort, be sure to obtain the last rules files.

A New Security Toolkit

I don't think a person can ever have enough security tools. If you share that opinion, you might want to download a copy of the recently released version 1.0.4 of Network Security Toolkit (NST), which is the creation of Paul Blankenbaker and Ron Henderson.

NST is available on a bootable CD-ROM or is downloadable as an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) image and is based on Red Hat Linux 9.0. The CD-ROM contains dozens upon dozens of tools and, according to the NST Web site, can "transform most x86 systems into a system designed for network traffic analysis, intrusion detection, network packet generation, a virtual system service server, or a sophisticated network/host scanner. This can all be done without disturbing or modifying any underlying sub-system disk. NST can be up and running on a typical x86 notebook in less than a minute by just rebooting with the NST ISO CD. The notebook's hard disk will not be altered in any way."

Head over to the NST Web site and have a look at NST's contents and capabilities. At the site, you'll also find the link to download the 194MB package.


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==== 2. Security News and Features ====

Recent Security Vulnerabilities

If you subscribe to this newsletter, you also receive Security Alerts, which inform you about recently discovered security vulnerabilities. You can also find information about these discoveries at

News: Remote Root Exploit Against IIS Servers

On April 21, a member of the Full Disclosure mailing list posted a message that revealed the existence of a new tool that can be used to exploit Microsoft IIS servers. By using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to target unpatched IIS servers, an attacker can cause the server to open a port that allows remote access to the system.

News: TCP Vulnerabilities

US-CERT and the UK National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Centre (NISCC) published information about vulnerabilities in the TCP protocol. The problems can affect a wide array of platforms, including many types of routers, such as those used to operate the Internet at top-tier ISPs.

Feature: Exchange Server SMTP AUTH Attacks

If you run Microsoft Exchange Server to process incoming Internet email, spammers might be using your mail server as a relay, even though your server isn't an open relay. How is this possible? Spammers authenticate to your email server, then use your server to send mail. Alan Sugano outlines how you can determine whether someone is using your system as a mail relay, how to close the hole, and how to test the measures you've taken to prevent such attacks in an article at the first URL below. Paul Robichaux wrote about the attack last fall in the article at the second URL below.


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==== 3. Security Toolkit ====

FAQ: Controlling Access to IISADMPWD

by John Savill,

Q: How can I control access to the IISADMPWD virtual directory?

A. When you use the default IISADMPWD virtual directory to enable a Web page on which users can change passwords (which I discussed in the FAQ "Does Windows Server 2003 provide a way to let users change their passwords remotely on the Web?"), the Microsoft IIS system sends the user's password information unencrypted over the network, which creates a security risk. To avoid transmitting unencrypted passwords, you must enable Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) by following these steps:

1. Start a command prompt by clicking Start, Run and typing


2. Navigate to the C:\inetpub\adminscripts directory.

3. At the command prompt, type

adsutil.vbs set w3svc/1/PasswordChangeFlags 0

This command runs the adsutil.vbs script with the Set command. The w3svc/1 parameter specifies the first default Web site. The PasswordChangeFlags option with the 0 value means that SSL is required. (Setting the PasswordChangeFlags value to 1 specifies that SSL isn't used, and setting the value to 2 disables the user's ability to change the password.)

4. Restart the IIS server to effect the change.

A new tool lets intruders exploit unpatched IIS servers that use SSL (see the first News item above). Be sure to patch your server.

Featured Thread: BlackBerry Server Behind ISA Server

(One message in this thread)

A reader writes that he needs to set up BlackBerry Server behind a Microsoft ISA Server firewall. He's having trouble opening the correct port, which is TCP port 3101. He created a packet filter by selecting the following properties: IP Protocol: TCP, Direction: Outbound, Local Port: Fixed Port, Local Port Number 3101, Remote Port: All Ports, Remote Ports: subdued. It doesn't work, and he wants to know how to correct the problem. Lend a hand or read the responses:


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==== 4. New and Improved ====

by Jason Bovberg, [email protected]

Secure Your Passwords

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