Intel issues patches for wireless vulnerabilities

Flaws could enable attacker near a Wi-Fi station to run unauthorized code or obtain authentication credentials

Intel has issued patches for three vulnerabilities for its wireless hardware and software.

Two problems affect certain versions of its Pro/Wireless Network Connection Hardware, part of its Centrino mobile platform, Intel said. The vulnerabilities lie in drivers from Microsoft, Intel said.

The flaws could allow an attacker near a Wi-Fi station to run unauthorized code on a victim's machine or gain kernel-level privileges.

A third vulnerability affects Intel's Proset/Wireless Software. It could lead to a hacker obtaining authentication credentials, Intel said.

So far, no attempts have been made to exploit the vulnerabilities, Intel said.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for security vendor Sophos, said a hacker could use the driver problems to create a worm that replicates itself by passing to other computers over a Wi-Fi network.

"It's a very big target for people to do these sorts of things," Cluley said.

Users can verify what version of the hardware they are running at http://support.intel.com/support/wireless/wlan/sb/cs-005905.htm. The new drivers can be downloaded at http://support.intel.com/support/wireless/wlan/sb/cs-010623.htm.

Intel cautioned, however, that the updated drivers are generic ones and that OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) may have changed some of the software. The generic drivers have not been verified by manufacturers for compatibility, Intel said.

For the other vulnerability, Intel recommended saving the profile of the Proset/Wireless Software with the "export" feature before making changes.

The SANS Institute, a security training organization, said in an advisory it does not believe updated drivers would be delivered through Microsoft's automated update system. Microsoft officials could not be immediately reached.

SANS also advised that users should check with system vendors to see if custom drivers are going to be released. The patches will have to be applied manually unless manufacturers provide an automated update tool, SANS said.

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