Microsoft has identified yet another vulnerability in Windows Print Spooler, and until a security fix is released, Windows PCs will be unable to print a document.
“When the Windows Print Spooler service incorrectly executes privileged file operations, an elevation of privilege vulnerability arises,” the firm warned. “An attacker who successfully exploited this flaw might use SYSTEM privileges to launch arbitrary code. After that, an attacker may install applications, read, edit, or remove data, or create new accounts with full user privileges.”
This is the third time in recent weeks that a vulnerability in Windows Print Spooler has been identified. The first, CVE-2021-1675, was fixed in a Windows 10 security update on June 8. Despite the delivery of an emergency patch on July 6 that was meant to at least partially fix the security issue, the second was dubbed PrintNightmare, and it affects every version of Windows.
Microsoft hasn’t said which versions of Windows are impacted by the new vulnerability, which has been labelled CVE-2021-34481, but it is “under investigation.” The business has acknowledged that a security update is in the works to remedy the problem. The only way to protect yourself against this vulnerability until that fix is issued is to deactivate Windows Print Spooler.
The good news is that attackers may only exploit CVE-2021-34481 if they already “have the ability to execute code on a target machine,” according to Microsoft. The business also stated that it is not aware of any attempts to exploit the weakness, although this is likely to change as a result of the publication, and it does not necessarily indicate that attackers were not aware of the flaw previously.
In the vulnerability update for CVE-2021-34481, Microsoft included instructions for deactivating Windows Print Spooler. Now it’s up to Windows users to decide whether they’d prefer to protect their PCs from the relatively difficult-to-exploit vulnerability or be able to print papers.