ActiveX vulnerability hits Yahoo Widgets

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Researchers at security research firm Secunia have revealed a "highly critical" security vulnerability in Yahoo's desktop Widgets. Widgets are software plug-ins that allow delivering a variety of information - weather reports, sports scores, and music - to users' computer desktops.

The vulnerability could be exploited by remote attackers to cause a denial of service or take control of an affected system. It's caused by a boundary error within an ActiveX control, according to Secunia. Malicious code could exploit this vulnerability to cause a stack-based buffer overflow by passing an overly long string (greater than 512 bytes) when handling certain processes.

Yahoo has created a patch [version 4.0.5] and urged that Widgets users and developers apply the patch as soon as possible. The patch is available here.

Secunia confirmed the vulnerability in YDPCTL.dll version 2007.4.13.1 in Yahoo Widgets version 4.0.3, also known as “build 178.” Secunia said that other versions of Yahoo Widgets may also be affected.

“Over the next several weeks, users worldwide will be prompted to update to a new version of Yahoo Widgets upon launching the application,” Yahoo said in an online posting. “If you choose not to update and you have not updated, the vulnerability will still exist.”

"Because of prevalence and ubiquity of Widgets, an awful lot of desktops are at risk to the vulnerability," Don Montgomery, vice president of marketing at Akonix, told SCMagazine.com. Although "nobody has reported an actual exploit of the vulnerability," Montgomery joined Yahoo in urging Widgets users to "keep their security up to date and stay on top of security alerts.

"It doesn't take email to download a virus -- it can be small footprint code like Widgets."



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