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. Users of Windows Vista and Windows 7 have been advised to completely disable their Windows Sidebar and Gadgets, in response to what appears to be a serious security risk. The Windows Sidebar is a vertical bar that can appear at the side of your desktop, containing mini-programs (known as gadgets) that can provide a number of functions such as a clock, the latest news headlines, weather report and so forth. A issued by Microsoft’s security team advises that vulnerabilities exist that could allow malicious code to be executed via the Windows Sidebar when running insecure Gadgets. The warning comes ahead of a talk scheduled for Black Hat later this month by Mickey Shkatov and Toby Kohlenberg.
Shkatov and Kohlenberg’s talk, entitled “We have you by the gadgets”, threatens to expose various attack vectors against gadgets, how malicious gadgets can be created, and the flaws they have found in published gadgets. 'We will be talking about our research into creating malicious gadgets, misappropriating legitimate gadgets and the sorts of flaws we have found in published gadgets.' If the researchers have managed to find ways to exploit existing gadgets that’s particularly worrying. Clearly Microsoft is worried about the security researchers’ findings, and has issued a which will protect Windows 7 and Vista users by entirely disabling the Windows Sidebar and Gadgets functionality. Yes, that’s right. Microsoft hasn’t issued a security patch to fix the vulnerability. They’re suggesting you completely nuke your Windows Sidebar and Gadgets.
Which is bad news if you found those sidebar gadgets useful. You better find a new way to tell what time it is, or catch the latest from your favourite RSS feeds. Sorry if it causes you any pain, but I would recommend you follow Microsoft’s advice if you run Windows 7 or Vista and apply their “Fix It tool” as soon as possible. It may be a sledgehammer to crack a nut – but it’s a nut that needs smashing, and fast. Interestingly, Microsoft has dropped Gadgets from the upcoming Windows 8. In retrospect, that was probably a very good idea.
Did you use Gadgets in your Windows sidebar? Will you miss them? Leave a comment below and let us know if you found them useful, or whether you won’t be mourning their demise.
Follow for the latest computer security news. Follow for exclusive pics, gifs, vids and LOLs! I’ve just installed Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit. It still comes with gadgets. You can drag them anywhere on your desktop, there is no “sidebar”.
If these gadgets are so vulnerable, why would Microsoft still include them on a recent build (December 2013) of Windows 7? I like knowing the temperature, time & date at a glance myself. I think as long as you don’t download any “bad gadgets” you’ll probably be OK. I bought & installed Windows 7 Pro 64 Bit because I CAN’T STAND Windows 8. My desktop PC is just that, a COMPUTER, not a cell phone. I have a cheap Walmart Black Friday doorbuster notebook with Windows 8 and I hate it, I dumped all the stupid “app tiles” and use the desktop. You know, like a computer?
I love my gadgets. I keep track of weather in 6 cities and have my network, CPU, hard disk drive, and GPU monitoring running.
Since I run my laptop sort of close to the edge of its performance, it is very useful for me to know (quickly) when something is leaking. My wife uses the analog clock, weather for about 4 cities, and the calendar. It is disappointing that the solution is to simply turn them off, and it is also unusual that Microsoft is dropping support so quickly. Normally features hang around forever. Is it likely that after the presentation on the vulnerabilities that a patch to, you know, fix the problem will come out? To access and download the fix, simply visit the following knowledge base article: Enabling the workaround will disable Windows Sidebar and Gadgets. In other words you want the first Fixit article with the number 50907.
For your information (good news for those that use sticky notes), under Windows 7, Sticky Notes is still available after applying this fix since it is a separate Windows application and is not a gadget application (located at%windir%system32StikyNot.exe ). However, on the 2x Windows 7 64 bit SP1 PCs that I have enabled this workaround on, it simply closes the gadgets that were in use and they can easily be displayed again (I rebooted after applying the workaround). The method that worked for me was the registry fix described in the Security Advisory (see the section: Suggest Actions-Workarounds-Disable the Sidebar in the system registry). This permanently disables the gadgets, you can’t re-enable them. Link to the security advisory: I can’t say that I will miss gadgets. They were a memory hog, using about 50 MB (3 gadgets in use) on the Windows 7 64 bit SP1 PCs that I have seen (which were not my PCs).
I too, am a little old fashioned and want my large 27 inch screen to be used for my applications and not for doubling up on items, e.g. Having an analogue clock when you already have a digital clock in the lower right corner of the screen. If you want a CPU monitor, use RealTemp or CoreTemp.
For GPUs, use GPU-Z, EVGA Precision or MSI Afterburner. I hope this helps. Hi KDS, Sorry for the confusion.
I have used many Microsoft Fix It Security Workarounds in the past, enabling the workaround would always disabled the functionality in question as intended. However, as was previously pointed out, it appears they were mislabelled. I also fell for this, hence my reason for using the registry steps to disable the sidebar/gadgets which worked. I have confirmed that the workarounds were mis-labelled, using the disable workaround worked as intended, gadgets no longer work. @Cathy Liebgold: Using the security workaround will disable all gadgets, including 3rd party gadgets.
You will either have to find full applications that carry out the function as your current gadgets or find an online website/service that offers the information that the gadgets currently provide to you. Windows 8 apps will most likely offer the same functionality as gadgets but as a Metro UI app, so all is not lost. Also, hoping that something does not contain malware is not enough. Verify the source of any software you download as trust-worthy, scan the file with your anti-virus/anti-malware software as a minimum security pre-caution. A good additional check is to examine the Properties of the file (right click it and choose Properties), then look for a Digital Signature tab in this Properties window (not all files will have a digital signature).
Check that the digital signature issued belongs to the company that you expected and that the signature is still showing as “OK” i.e. Not tampered with. I will try to contact Microsoft via their website to mention this error in their documentation.
I hope this helps. From the orignial post it says that they might be able to develop new gadgets that contain malware or vunerabilitys, I cant see any issue with keeping the gadgets that you have had installed for years. Gadgets are just mini web pages and any webpage can contain malware, not really a revalation. I only use the windows weather gadget and the CPU temp one anyway and I wouldnt really miss them as I have apps covering them almost all the time anyway but they are still staying there until I see a real reason to remove them.
Also to the people not using aero and calling it a resource hog, it does use more resources but I am at least twice as efficent using aero peek and the other win 7 taskbar enhancements and unless you have a computer from 2005 then you should be able to run win 7 with aero. @Mike You are right in your approach, simply back up the registry and follow the step by step instructions of the security advisory slowly and you should be fine: See the section: Suggested Actions-Workarounds-Disable the Sidebar in the system registry.
If the flaws to be demoed at BlackHat are serious enough, it could result in scenarios of people only needing to visit a malicious website (not intentionally) which could cause the silent download of a malicious gadget or use of an existing gadgets with the potential to cause further harm. Such links to these websites arriving via the usual methods of spam, instant messages or social engineering techniques from social networks etc. It could be that to effectively mitigate against the potential threat required too many changes to Windows to warrant doing so and it was considered best to simply disable gadgets. In support of this point, in January of 2008, Microsoft realised an update to improve the security of the Windows Sidebar for Windows Vista: Its purpose was to block potentially malicious gadgets while still allowing legitimate ones to run. Since new methods of exploiting gadgets are to be unveiled at BlackHat, to me it seems clear that rather than use resources to fix the flaws to be demoed at BlackHat, it is simply best to disable them. While the gadgets that you are using now are legitimate they may not be built according to modern security best practices (e.g. The Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle).
Since Microsoft credits the authors of the presentation to be given at BlackHat with assisting them in making this decision (you can this credit at the end of the Security Advisory), Microsoft must deem the issues to be discussed serious enough to take action now. I look forward to finding out exactly how serious later this month when the presentation is given, I will be following the security blogs closely to find out. A little more information on their decision to disable can be seen in the following blog post: If the decision was taken to keep gadgets after the above flaws were demoed and Microsoft took the time and resources to fix all of the flaws, it may require too much re-coding of existing gadgets which the developers of those existing gadgets are not going to waste resources on to re-code when such gadgets are going to be scrapped in favor of the new Metro UI apps when Windows 8 arrives in the coming months. A similar decision was taken when a flaw in Windows Explorer was announced in April 2006: If you check the FAQ of this security bulletin you will see that a similar decision was taken with regard to Windows 98, 98 SE and Windows ME while the update was available for Windows 2000, XP and Server 2003. Too much re-coding was required for the older versions of Windows and was deemed not necessary for the diminishing benefit it would have.
A similar comparison can be made between the shift from gadgets to Windows 8 apps. For details of the new coding practices for Windows 8 Apps, you can refer to the following Channel 9 video: —————————— Off-Topic: My own PC uses a Core i7 2600K (quad core CPU with 8 threads due to SMP) and 16 GB of RAM so, I can spare the extra RAM overhead but I don’t tolerate such high RAM usage from such small applications. Yes, Windows Aero could be described as a resource hog too but it actually uses comparatively little RAM for all of the functionality and usability it provides. When I say Windows Aero, I mean dwm.exe (Desktop Window Manager) which uses about 45 MB on my PC while explorer.exe uses about 115 MB.
I consider Windows 7 very efficient and Windows 8 is even better. Full details of Windows 8 memory usage is available from the following link: —————————— I hope this clarifies why Microsoft MAY have taken the decision to do this. I am simply basing my argument on what I have seen them do with other security updates over the years. Hi Jedsshed, Microsoft does take this threat seriously and I think they have done a good job.
They have closed off a potential point of attack before such attack details are given and made available to the public and the wider security audience. This advisory is for Windows Vista and Windows 7 users. They have not been notified explicitly unless you have signed up for Security Advisory alerts via email from the following link. You can also sign up for security blog and security bulletins notifications via email too: I take your point though; it is more difficult than it should be to find out about such important security changes.
I have monitored these blogs and websites for many years, which is how I have come to know so much about Microsoft’s approach to security as my previous posts demonstrate. I never considered how anyone would find out about this advisory if they do not monitor the blogs, I have simply become too used to knowing where to look! I suppose this is what the Sophos Naked Security blog is for!
Namely to monitor any changes for us and let us know what action to take. Thanks again to Graham Cluley for keeping us informed. Here are the links to the Microsoft blogs that I monitor on a regular basis. I have only included the most relevant blogs: Microsoft Security Response Center: Microsoft TechNet Security Center: Microsoft Security Research and Defense: Microsoft Malware Protection Center: By the way, just to clarify, when I say “monitor” blogs, I simply mean visiting them and reading anything interesting, I am NOT a moderator or admin for those blogs. I am just an average user like you. I hope this helps.
From the advisory; 'Disabling the Windows Sidebar and Gadgets can help protect customers from vulnerabilities that involve the execution of arbitrary code by the Windows Sidebar when running insecure Gadgets' – and this differs from needing to protect me from a vulnerability in any insecure application exactly how? 'In addition, Gadgets installed from untrusted sources can harm your computer and can access your computer's files, show you objectionable content, or change their behavior at any time.' And this differs from any other application exactly how? 'An attacker who successfully exploited a Gadget vulnerability could run arbitrary code in the context of the current user. If the current user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker could take complete control of the affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.'
And this differs from an attacker who successfully exploits a vulnerability exactly how? A gadget is no more inherently insecure than ANY other application!
Hi Chris, The answer to all 3 questions is: there is no difference between this vulnerability and another vulnerability. The same methods of exploitation will be used, but just to a gadget and not a traditional application. By traditional application, I mean a Windows Portable Executable (PE) file with a.exe extension or an application that is a DLL but runs by using RunDll32.exe). Given that the details of the upcoming Black Hat presentation are not yet known, I can’t say for sure if a gadget is less secure than an another application.
Or have I missed something: Is this 'fix' just a means to enable corporates to stop their employees 'playing' with gadgets? Hi AAK, Your list of current security is already very good but I would also recommend that you install all Windows security updates to boost your protection even further: Please find below the relevant links to turning on Windows Automatic Updates: Windows XP Windows Vista Windows 7 I would also recommend installing updates for popular 3rd party software that you may be using e.g.
Adobe Reader an Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Shockwave Player, Java, Apple Quicktime, Apple iTunes, Skype, Windows Messenger, VLC, Apple Safari, Google Chrome, WinAmp etc. Here is a link that describes how to install updates for the most popular software: Apple Quicktime Adobe Acrobat Adobe Flash Player Adobe Reader Adobe Shockwave Player Java I hope this helps. I followed the instructions and disabled my sidebar.
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However, the consequence of disabling the sidebar was that my only user id had its administrator rights disabled as well. I was reduced to a standard user, and left me without full control of my machine. I was able to restore my administrator status by turning User Account Control off momentarily.
However, even after backing off this Microsoft supplied fix, I am unable to add or manage ODBC system data sources, which I absolutely require for my work. I suggest great caution around this fix. There appears to be other consequences. I may come off sounding like a conspiracy nut, but Doesn't seem really weird that their is suddenly a huge security issue with Windows Sidebar Gadgets on the eve of the coming release of Windows 8? I mean first MS decides to stop supporting this very useful feature because it doesn't fit into the new Win 8 scheme of things. But because it's a useful Win 7 feature that the community outside the scoop and control of MS support there is suddenly a 'horrible security issue' which reduces a functionality of Win 7.
It just seems a little to convenient to me. Somehow this slipped right on by meI didn't start investigating until I tried to find the Microsoft gadget gallery ) in a search for a solution for a specific need and read 'Because we want to focus on the exciting possibilities of the newest version of Windows, the Windows website no longer hosts the gadget gallery.' Which – because of my long experience in the field (I still remember my intense excitement at the networking and expanding batch command capabilities of Windows for Workgroupshey, finally the PC was going to do stuff I could do on DEC equipment!) – caused me to 'smell a rat'. Soon – and sure – enough, a web search lead me here. Well, I've been using the CPU, GPU & Network meters, a clock, and the Kaspersky gadget, under Vista.
Now that I'm running 7, most of all I really miss the Network gatget's ability to refresh the local & ISP network settings, which very frequently drop?bandwidth quite rapidly, and often seem to benefit from some frobbing. Sitting here waiting forever for DLs is so irritating, especially if I can't DO anything but sit & wait. All the apps out there seem to focus on refreshing the list of available networks to connect to, not refreshing the one one is already on.grr. And the Kaspersky gadget is a security hole, LOL!!!
What can I say?! Inverted humour! The story is interesting for old ladies and grandpa. Each time when new product is on sight ( Win8 ) or something similar, new usefull program, they say it will be aim for hackers ( old one – gadgets this time ). The story is only for those who are forced with it to buy, buy, buy. New products ( this time is Win 8 ) and until this moment gadgets are and are not any problem.
Yust use licensed antivirus, as I do, NOD32 is the best, and use licensed antimalware, for instance Malwarebyte, and you can free, and safely use your gadgets. The story is only for small childrens. I strongly suspect there is more going on than meets the eye. A gadget is simply an executable program like any other application that runs on the system. It poses no particular additional risk over other apps.
However, it may well pose a marketing risk for Windows 8 by adding functionality that Microsoft only wants available in Window 8. Simply abandoning an actually useful feature in the OS is not Microsoft’s typical approach. In this case the security risk is probably real but no different than the risk posed by any other program and subject to the same defenses.
They are handled by the Windows Scripting Host. That has been a target and source of vulnerabilities in the past along with nearly every part of the operating system since Win 3.0. I see nothing special about the Sidebar that would pose any extra risk. Gadgets are generally very simple programs with very little code to exploit.
Something such as a simple clock program does little more than read the system time and draw some appropriate graphics on the screen using a small cache of pre-drawn shapes. It usually writes a few bits of ordinary text to a settings file in the same directory as the script file. It isn’t much of a target for hacking unless the Scripting Host is buggy. If there is a problem with the Scripting Host then Microsoft needs to fix it regardless of whether the side bar is enabled or not.
That isn’t the only use for it. I smell a marketing rat. I just stumbled upon this article and also find Microsoft's reaction a bit curious. If it is a truly important security issue, why is it not part of Windows Update? Why has it not been a major news item?
Rather than fixing the insecure code that allows Sidebar Gadgets to create a security risk, why has MS told people to instead disable the feature? It should be safe to assume that gadgets made by Microsoft are secure, but that doesn't seem to be mentioned. Are they also inherently insecure or is the issue overblown?
Alternate gadget packages (e.g. Rainmaker) are not any safer since they are also made by third parties. Again, it comes down to the intention of the developer and the intelligence of the user to avoid introducing system security holes by installing garbage. The Windows 8 tile UI is essentially an implementation of gadgets (i.e. Live informational views and the ability to execute actions). One could get the impression that MS is telling users to disable Sidebar gadgets to push people towards Windows 8.
Personally, I suspect this is an overreaction to a legitimate (but small) security issue blown out of proportion by MS deciding to not fix it to encourage Win8 sales. I plan to keep on using the same half dozen gadgets made by MS and two developers that I've been using without a problem since 2006. “The Windows 8 tile UI is essentially an implementation of gadgets (i.e. Live informational views and the ability to execute actions). One could get the impression that MS is telling users to disable Sidebar gadgets to push people towards Windows 8” So, Windows 8 is inherently insecure, because it’s built around something MICROSOFT itself told you to disable on a previous version. Who would buy this crap?
The last good OS Microsoft had was Windows 2000. XP was too hard to get used to. I’m now using Xubuntu Linux. No security problems, no constant “fixes” and no updates, if you don’t want them. It just works.
AND IF YOU DO want a new OS, there is a new on out every six months, FREE. If you don’t want it, the old one works just fine, for years, without messing around. Eliminating the gadgets is a first step in a Microsoft masterplan to transition its customers to closed PCs onto which you will be unable to load software in the conventional manner.
They intend to end the selling of shrink-wrap packaged retail software, and move its customer base to “secure digital delivery” of new applications. They assume as do many that EVERYONE has internet access, and high-bandwidth access at that.
They have, in essence, thrown in the towel on any attempt to create a properly securable desktop OS, and are trying to build a software Maginot Line instead. We know how that worked out for the French.
I have turned them off since 2010 when i have installed the win 7 64 bit. I ‘m few years ahead from microsoft security team. Sorry guys, no hard feelings. Furthermore i will give you a tip which you will read after few years lol. They all know about the sticker that you have to apply to your webcam in order to be safe when you use i.e your laptop.
But what about the microphone? Still the hacker can hear what you say at your home work etc. So disable it and enable it when you need it. Since day one i have disable that also. Rant below ðŸ™‚ Microsoft “Conveniently” disable Gadgets in their older operating systems, because they don’t want you to be able to use them to once again force you to move to a new operating system for $$$$$ or whatever your currency is and yes there is a security flaw, if you download unsecure gadgets, but that’s the use at your own risk feature of the world. But now you can buy The Weather App from Microsoft after purchasing Windows for the X’th time in your life and then again in a couple of years as “apps” will become insecure and the will also be disabled, the next one will then be secure.
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# ^ - =: ':,; =; = - ^.;: ' ^;; - ', # = = - ' ': = # '. ' = = - -:;.:, = '; -I have a Mac OS X but need to to 'upgrade to the patch level required' in order to download Avira Free Antivirus for Mac. How do I do this what does 'your MacOS is not on the patchlevel. To check for Mac software updates, open the App Store app on your Mac. Click Updates in the App Store toolbar, then use the Update buttons.
This document lists security updates for Apple software. Issues until an investigation has occurred and patches or releases are available. UPDATE: Apple has also released a patch for the version of this vulnerability on its OS X platforms, as part of the update to OS X Apple Security Update for Mac: Free Download - For OS X, Server, and Server. Download the Download Apple Security Update from test.ru Download Nice to have a security patch for Safari 5, too. Get Missing Patches. Install Missing Patches Apple Inc. Software Update, 2.x, V, V, V, V, V.
If you're on the security update is not relevant, or more precisely, is already included. It's for users still on or below. The tutorial videos from Avira. In this video, we would like to show you how you can download the new Avira. Painter customers that install select versions of Painter 12 on the Macintosh may experience Issues upgrading their software to the latest patch level.
Apple's security updates for macOS sometime include patches for manufacturers to secure low-level firmware in Macs by automatically. One thing missing from this procured list is the MacOS patch level itself.
I'm interested to see how JAMF plans to handle future OS updates with Software. The only security-related update that Apple is continuing to release for Snow do to upgrade to an operating system that's still getting security patches. In IT concentrating in Internet Security and has taken doctorate-level.
A week ago, Apple pushed out a small but critical security patch for iOS. That update was iOS, and it fixed a trifecta of previously unknown Attack the now-located vulnerable kernel component to get kernel-level access. Apple has pushed out its first ever automatic security update to Mac OS X users, Rather impressively, the OS X security patch should install. Apple offers no end-of-life roadmaps for its operating systems, and it doesn't officially OS is still getting iTunes updates, but its last major security patch. Even the cheapest entry-level Macs will deliver hugely boosted CPU.
Ihr MacOS System hat nicht das erforderlich.