Patches for Windows 10 users put Windows 7 at risk
According to one of researchers from Google Project Zero, correcting the error only in Windows 10, and ignoring such vulnerabilities in Windows 7, Microsoft actually leaves clues for hackers.
Attackers can use the principle of binary differentiation, to identify the fixes in the new operating system and find the weaknesses in the previous version. It is applicable to Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10, as all supported versions of the operating system use the same source code, but contains various improvements and bug fixes.
The possibility of applying a binary difference is the greatest threat to the security of Windows 7, which installed half of the users of Microsoft operating systems. Cyber criminals know that Microsoft is committed to the protection and correction of significant errors only for the newest OS versions.
“Users of old versions remain vulnerable to serious vulnerabilities that are easy to detect simply by comparing the relevant parts of the code,” — said the expert of Google Project Zero.
Releasing patches for Windows 10, Microsoft not only gives users a false sense of security, but hackers and indicates directions for future attacks.
For example, the error CVE-2017-8680 was discovered in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 in may 2017, and was only fixed in the September update. In Windows 10, such error was not. After learning about the problem, the staff of Project Zero was able to quickly find the appropriate fix in the code Windows 10 and to understand that it was not integrated in earlier versions.
Subsequent comparison of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 with Windows 10 operating system kernels was discovered CVE-2017-8684 and CVE-2017-8685, which were also fixed in September. According to researchers of Project Zero, to detect such problems does not require special expertise and deep knowledge of Windows.
Project Zero gives developers consistently implement improvements and to release patches for all supported versions of the operating system to maintain the safety of users.
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