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Microsoft IIS security hole persists despite available patch

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An old and subsequently well-publicised flaw in Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS), which allows anyone with a Web browser to gain admin-level access to a server, continues to plague many sites in spite of the availability patches to correct it.

The flaw first became news just over a year ago with a flurry of advisories posted on numerous news sites, and Microsoft did respond and issue a patch. Wired, for example, ran their coverage on 15 June of last year.

However, as one of The Register's sharp-eyed readers has discovered and brought to our attention, putting the word out and issuing a patch hardly guarantees that anyone will bother to install it.

The hole enables an unauthorised visitor to determine what version of NT is running, and to see or easily guess file and directory locations with a mind towards further exploitation of the site. On an e-commerce site with a shopping cart application running, the flaw can make it easy to compromise consumers' account details.

Among the more high-profile sites reported to be running the product in a still-unpatched version are Safeway, IKEA and Tower Records. Undoubtedly many thousands of less-known sites are as well. The Register has confirmed the hole in the instances mentioned above, but for obvious reasons we're not describing the exploit in detail. ®

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