Sophos unveils tool to cover Windows zero-day vulnerability

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As industry waits for a patch.

Sophos has released a free tool to cover the Windows shortcut zero-day vulnerability.

With the flaw now exposed for over a week and only a workaround issued by Microsoft, Sophos has released a free tool to protect against the vulnerability. It said that the Sophos Windows shortcut exploit protection tool protects against the vulnerability which allows hackers to exploit a bug in the way that all versions of Windows handles .LNK shortcut files. 

It said that the tool intercepts shortcut files that contain the exploit, warning of the executable code that was attempting to run. That means it will stop malicious threats which use the vulnerability if they are on non-local disks, such as a USB stick.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said: “So far we have seen the Stuxnet and Dulkis worms, as well as the Chymin Trojan horse, exploiting the shortcut vulnerability to help them spread and infect computer systems. Stuxnet made the headlines because it targeted the Siemens SCADA systems that look after critical infrastructure like power plants - but there's a warning for all computer users here. Details of how to exploit the security hole are now published on the web, meaning it is child's play for other hackers to take advantage and create attacks.

“The free tool from Sophos can be run alongside any existing anti-virus software, providing generic protection against the exploit.  Unlike Microsoft's workaround, it doesn't blank out all the shortcuts on your Windows Start Menu - meaning your life - and that of your users - will be less stressful.”

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