Animated cursors can take down Windows

Microsoft might have worked hard to improve security and stability in its new Windows Vista operating system, but as BetaNews reports, the OS can be taken down by a lowly animated cursor. Even more embarrassing is the fact that Microsoft has admitted that Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows 2003 are all affected by the exact same issue. McAfee has a video of the problem up on YouTube. Apparently, as soon as one drags and drops a malformed .ANI icon file onto the desktop, Windows Explorer enters a loop where it keeps crashing and restarting itself indefinitely. Microsoft says the bug can also be triggered by visiting a website or by viewing a specially crafted e-mail message.

This isn’t the first time Microsoft’s animated cursor format has caused problems. Over two years ago, Microsoft issued patches for a vulnerability with the cursor format that could actually allow remote code execution in Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003.

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