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02 Aug 2006

Centrino wireless flaw could be exploited by hackers to spread malware

Memory corruption software flaw could leave door open for wireless worm

The vulnerability affects Windows wireless users
The vulnerability affects Windows wireless users

Experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global network of virus, spyware and spam analysis centers, have advised computer users to ensure they are running the latest security patches following the announcement of vulnerabilities in Intel Centrino's wireless features. The flaws could, theoretically, allow hackers to spread malicious code such as a worm wirelessly between computers.

According to a statement by Intel, the security vulnerabilities exist in the Microsoft Windows drivers for certain versions of their Wireless Network Connection hardware.

"A hacker could exploit these wireless vulnerabilities to run malicious code on an innocent user's computer, giving them control over other people's PCs or spreading a wireless worm which could leapfrog from one laptop to the next," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "The good news is that we haven't seen any attacks using this exploit yet, but that doesn't mean computer users should be laid back about applying fixes."

Intel has published a tool on its website to help users determine if they are running hardware which may be affected.

"It is essential that all companies remain alert to the latest security issues, and ensure their business computers are properly defended with the latest patches," continued Cluley. "The more time taken to patch a flaw, the greater the opportunity for a malicious hacker to exploit it."

Although Intel has published generic updates to its software which reportedly fix the issue on its website, the company is recommending that users contact their laptop manufacturers for vendor-specific information and fixes.

Sophos continues to recommend companies protect their laptops, desktops and servers with automatically updated protection against viruses, spyware, and spam.

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.