Another Tuesday, another round of security bulletins from Microsoft. Are you patched? Nessus contains credentialed local checks for all Microsoft security bulletins. "Specially Crafted" I have always wondered what the term "specially crafted" really means. What is "special"? Merriam-Webster defines it as "distinguished by some unusual quality" . "Unusual" is relative, and means that someone has defined what "usual" means. This is where we start to enter a grey area. How do we determine what is "special" if the "usual" is not clearly defined? In this case, I'm talking about RFCs, the documents used to define what "usual" means with respect to Internet protocols. One of the vulnerabilities this month has to do with IPSec and specifically ISAKMP, the key management protocol. Apparently a "specially crafted" packet will cause this service to eat up CPU cycles and cause a DoS condition. These flaws are common, but my concern is that this condition may not always be caused by a malicious attacker using a tool such as Scapy . For example, a VPN client might send "specially crafted" packets because the programmer, who wrote the client software, misinterpreted the RFC. I wish that Microsoft would be a little more forthcoming regarding the details of the flaw, particularly how difficult it is to exploit. "Could Allow" I am also somewhat puzzled by the term "could allow". When using it in the context of remote exploits, it’s even more confusing. A vulnerability either allows or does not allow remote code to be executed. Sure, there are mitigating factors, but if the vulnerability does allow for remote code execution, then Microsoft should just come out and say it. When you are reading security bulletins from Microsoft, keep in mind that "could allow" really means "allows under certain circumstances".