Saturday, September 09, 2006

Flaw in ICQ Pro 2003b

Security researchers at Core Security Technologies today reported that they had discovered the flaw in ICQ Pro 2003b, a version of the ICQ client that AOL still offers for download and bills as a "veteran version" for users who prefer the earlier look and feel.

Although the bug doesn't affect more recent ICQ software like ICQ 5.1, it could mean serious problems for ICQ Pro 2003b users, according to Max Caceres, director of product management at Core, a vendor of penetration testing software.

Core researchers have developed proof-of-concept code that causes ICQ Pro 2003b to crash, and they believe that this vulnerability could eventually be exploited to run unauthorized software on a user's PC.

How It Might Work

Hackers would attack a PC by sending a maliciously encoded instant message to any ICQ Pro 2003b user connected to the service. Victims "don't have to do anything at all," Caceres says. "Just by being there, someone can send them a message, and they can be compromised."

Core has also discovered less-critical issues in AOL's ICQ Toolbar 1.3 for Internet Explorer. These flaws could allow attackers to change the toolbar's configuration settings or possibly even run scripting code by sending victims maliciously encoded RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds.

AOL says it is working to fix the bugs, but the company classifies them as "minor and low-risk," according to spokesperson Andrew Weinstein. "Any users who are concerned can simply upgrade to the latest version of ICQ or not load suspicious RSS feeds," he said via instant message.

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