Security hole found in Nvidia driver service

Graphics drivers often get flak for compatibility issues and overzealous optimizations, but we rarely hear about security holes. There are exceptions for everything, though. Threatpost reports that a freshly discovered vulnerability in Nvidia's Display Driver Service "could hand over administrator privileges on Windows machines to an attacker."

UK security researcher Peter Winter-Smith posted the exploit to Pastebin earlier this week. He wrote up the following explanation, as well:

Here is an interesting exploit for a stack buffer overflow in the NVidia Display Driver Service. The service listens on a named pipe (\pipe\nsvr) which has a NULL DACL configured, which should mean that any logged on user or remote user in a domain context (Windows firewall/file sharing permitting) should be able to exploit this vulnerability. . . . The buffer overflow occurs as a result of a bad memmove operation.

(Curious-minded readers can check the Pastebin posting for more details.)

Apparently, Winter-Smith didn't tip Nvidia off before sharing the exploit publicly. That's because, he says, "The risk from this particular flaw being exploited was (is) sufficiently low that I didn't think it would warrant the wait." Quoting the researcher, Threatpost explains that the exploit mainly affects "domain-based machine[s]" with "relaxed firewall rules" and file sharing enabled.

Well, at least that part is reassuring, I guess. Here's hoping Nvidia addresses the problem soon. In the meantime, keep your firewalls up!

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