This week Microsoft finally released a patch for a zero-day security flaw being exploited by hackers, that the company had claimed since 2019 was not actually a vulnerability.
The volte-face from Microsoft relates to “DogWalk”, a remote code execution vulnerability in the Microsoft Windows Support Diagnostic Tool (MSDT), affecting all Windows versions going back as far as Windows 7 and Server 2008.
Successful exploitation of DogWalk can see malicious attackers gain remote code execution on compromised computer systems.
Due to the high severity of the DogWalk vulnerability (technically known by Microsoft as CVE-2022-34713), all users of Windows and Windows Server are being urged to ensure systems are properly updated as soon as possible.
Microsoft also noted that the vulnerability had been seen being actively exploited.
The DogWalk vulnerability, discovered by security researcher Imre Rad at the end of 2019, was initially downplayed by Microsoft who said that it would not be fixing the bug as it did not view it as having satisfied its criteria for being a vulnerability.
When concerns about DogWalk resurfaced in June, an unofficial third-party patch was released in the absence of any sign that Microsoft could change its stance.
With the release of an official patch in Microsoft’s latest monthly Patch Tuesday update there is no need any longer for users to rely on a third-party fix.
Microsoft security researcher Johnathan Norman offered an apology for the company’s slow handling of the issue:
We finally fixed the #DogWalk vulnerability. Sadly this remained an issue for far too long. thanks to everyone who yelled at us to fix it.
The DogWalk vulnerability is just one of more than 120 bugs in Microsoft’s code addressed by the August 2022 Patch Tuesday update.