Last month, a 17-year-old Windows bug was found in the Microsoft operating system by one of their biggest rivals, Google. The vulnerability in older 32-bit Microsoft operating systems creates an opportunity for clever hackers to hijack PCs. Microsoft certainly isn’t known for secure, bug-free or virus-proof software, but this is ridiculous. A 17-year-old Microsoft Windows bug?!
Windows Virtual DOS Machine Windows Bug
This Microsoft Windows bug exploits a loophole in the MS-DOS operating system via the Virtual DOS Machine (VDM) subsystem. As part of Microsoft’s backward compatibility strategy, the VDM subsystem was added to Windows NT in 1993. Windows NT was Microsoft’s first 32-bit operating system and VDM allow users to run older DOS and 16-bit Windows software.
What Microsoft Operating Systems Are Impacted?
The Windows Virtual DOS Machine (VDM) subsystem bug is in the kernel of 32-bit versions of Windows. As a result, all 32-bit editions of Windows, including Windows 3 and Windows 7, are impacted by this bug.
NERD NOTE: Windows 3.1 was released on Apr. 6, 1992. Sales of Windows 3.1 fueled Microsoft’s revenues to surge by 55% and helped the company establish itself as a global software leader.
Google Discovers 17-Year-Old Windows Bug
While the bug is 17 years old, it was only found recently. Who found it? A member of Microsoft’s software team? A security consultant? Nope. One of their biggest rivals, Google! A Google security researcher named Tavis Ormandy found the bug. Google has been tightening security after they were attacked last month in China.
That’s an old saying, “better late than never”, that immediately came to mind when I first heard about this story. Glad Google was able to help Microsoft out.