Feeds

MS releases emergency IE fix

Zombie Armageddon averted

High performance access to file storage

Microsoft has broken its normal release schedule to publish a security patch to address a critical vulnerability in Internet Explorer that has become the target of widespread hacking attacks.

A security bug in the Vector Markup Language (VML) component of IE has been used to infect users visiting specific pornographic, or other maliciously constructed, websites. Security firms report the increased prevalence of mass mailing lures that attempts to direct surfers to web sites hosting VML exploit code, using tricks including claims that users have received a Yahoo! Greeting Card.

Microsoft, contrary to reports from independent security experts such as the SANS Institute, continues to maintain that these attacks remain "limited". Nonetheless Redmond has decided to make a security patch (MS06-055) available outside its regular Patch Tuesday update cycle, a rare but not unprecedented move. Additionally, Microsoft is also making available a revised version of the MS06-049 update for Windows 2000 customers. Both updates are rated as "critical" (natch). Microsoft next patch Tuesday diary date falls on 10 October.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is assisting the FBI and other law enforcement investigators in tracking down the perpetrators of the attack.

The availability of an official patch from Microsoft comes days after the release of an unofficial patch from a new ad-hoc group of security pros, called the Zeroday Emergency Response Team (ZERT). The availability of an unofficial patch placed extra pressure on Microsoft to produce an official fix, it's tempting to think, though no-one at Redmond is ever likely to admit as much. The official line is that testing on the IE patch was completed ahead of schedule. Microsoft continues to advises users to stay clear of unofficial patches on general principle.

The VML security bug is unrelated to a (still unpatched) flaw in Microsoft's Direct Animation Path (daxctle.ocx) ActiveX control discovered earlier this month. This ActiveX flaw has not become the subject of widespread exploit but still represents a serious security risk. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS
Agency forgets it exists to protect communications, not just spy on them
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.