Google has come under heavy criticism for releasing details of an elevation of privileges flaw it found in Windows 8.1 just 90 days after notifying Microsoft.
The Project Zero team publicly disclosed the vulnerability on 29 December.
As reported by Infosecurity last week, it affects the NtApphelpCacheControl function used for caching application compatibility data. If exploited, it allows a malicious app to run as an administrator by bypassing the user account control (UAC).
The flaw itself is not particularly critical, as users must have already been compromised for it to be effective, according to Sophos Canada’s senior security advisor, Chester Wisniewski.
“There are also several mitigations that can be employed to reduce the risk from this flaw,” he wrote in a blog post.
“People testing the vulnerability are saying that using UAC at its maximum setting prevents the flaw from working without a warning being presented. Better yet, if you don't log in to your computer with administrative credentials at all when surfing the web or performing everyday tasks, there is no UAC to bypass.”
However, Google was criticized on its Google Security Research forum for its strict 90-day disclosure deadline.
“Automatically disclosing this vulnerability when a deadline is reached with absolutely zero context strikes me as incredibly irresponsible and I'd have expected a greater degree of care and maturity from a company like Google,” wrote one user.
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