[Dshield] More on Windows Messenger from Yesterday's Dartmouth Daily Feed

Al Reust areust at comcast.net
Fri Oct 24 14:35:24 GMT 2003

IF You have AOL you should be very afraid! What that publicly states is a 
client program has the ability to make live registry changes without the 
users consent.

This would also imply that they can install any software they desire at 
anytime. Through active manipulation, mine the registry for install 
software and identity items. They have also demonstrated that they can turn 
of Software. What is that software is your Firewall?


At 09:33 AM 10/24/2003 -0400, you wrote:
>as a followup to prior discussion on the Messenger service in Microsoft 
>Windows here is a clip from yesterday's feed from
>dailyreport at ists.dartmouth.edu. The most recent release of the AOL "Fat 
>Client" as well as the most recent release (7.1) of the AOL Netscape 
>browser have build in spam filtering support. I am just getting familiar 
>with it but  for the average end user it looks like a very useful feature.
>Title: AOL quietly changes Windows settings to combat pop-up spam
>Source: Security Focus (AP)
>Date Written: October 23, 2003
>Date Collected: October 23, 2003
>    America Online (AOL) has begun turning off a Windows messaging
>    feature on their customers' machines to prevent 'pop-up spam.'
>    Pop-up spam exploits a little used networking feature in Windows
>    that allows a network administrator to send messages to users.
>    Spammers figured out how to use the same feature to send pop-up
>    spam. Pop-up spam, unlike pop-up ads, does not require users to
>    visit a website, but can appear at anytime. AOL says its turned off
>    the feature for 15 million users, and will continue doing so for a
>    few months. Cybersecurity experts have mixed reactions to AOL's
>    tactic. Bruce Schneier, chief technology officer for Counterpane
>    Internet Security says, "It's a very dangerous precedent in having
>    companies go into your computer and turn things on and off. From
>    there, it's easy to turn off competitors' services." AOL spokesman
>    Andrew Weinstein says customers have been giving positive feedback
>    to the move, and adds that AOL is closing a critical security hole
>    Microsoft disclosed a week prior.
>Best Regards,
>John Holmblad
>Televerage International
>(H) 703 620 0672
>(M) 703 407 2278
>(F) 703 620 5388
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