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MS issues monster IE security fix

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A total of six new security stuff-ups affecting Internet Explorer and Outlook Express have been addressed in a cumulative patch which has made two temporary appearances on the TechNet Web site since last week.

This, the third posting, has been up for several hours, so we're going to take a chance and assume it works properly.

The patch addresses a serious buffer overflow vulnerability which can give an attacker total control of a victim's machine; a vulnerability allowing an attacker to view files on the victim's local drive; an HTML header manipulation vulnerability allowing an attacker to feed an executable file to a victim while causing it to appear to be a harmless text file; another header manipulation vulnerability which allows an attacker to invoke applications on the victim's system; a permission vulnerability allowing an attacker to run scripts even if the victim has scripting disabled; and the Document.Open() vulnerability which enables MSN and Windows Messenger to be hijacked, as we reported here.

Microsoft neglects to acknowledge the Messenger vulnerability, and says simply that the Document.Open() hole "could only be used to read files - not create, change, delete, or execute them."

Interestingly, the company acknowledges only two of the four contributors to its dramatically improved browser, presumably because it disapproves of the way in which some people choose to disclose their findings. Too proud to say thank you, but by no means too proud to profit from the work of others, MS has issued this advisory, with links to the patches for several different browser versions. ®

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