Last week, Microsoft shared a new remote code execution vulnerability in Windows, that has been using the Windows Print Spooler. A remote code execution vulnerability exists when the Windows Print Spooler service improperly performs privileged file operations. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could run arbitrary code with SYSTEM privileges. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. The vulnerability is actively removed and Microsoft published two workarounds to protect systems from being attacked.
Microsoft have provided two suggestions: to disable the Print Spooler service or to disable inbound remote printing using the Group Policy.
Determine if the Print Spooler service is running
Run the following:
Get-Service -Name Spooler
If the Print Spooler is running or if the service is not set to disabled, select one of the following options to either disable the Print Spooler service, or to Disable inbound remote printing through Group Policy:
Option 1 – Disable the Print Spooler service
If disabling the Print Spooler service is appropriate for your enterprise, use the following PowerShell commands:
Stop-Service -Name Spooler -Force
Set-Service -Name Spooler -StartupType Disabled
Impact of workaround Disabling the Print Spooler service disables the ability to print both locally and remotely.
Option 2 – Disable inbound remote printing through Group Policy
You can also configure the settings via Group Policy as follows:
Computer Configuration / Administrative Templates / Printers
Disable the “Allow Print Spooler to accept client connections:” policy to block remote attacks.
You must restart the Print Spooler service for the group policy to take effect.
Impact of workaround This policy will block the remote attack vector by preventing inbound remote printing operations. The system will no longer function as a print server, but local printing to a directly attached device will still be possible.