Feeds

MS releases emergency IE fix

Zombie Armageddon averted

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Know what Ferguson city needs right now? It's not Anonymous doxing random people
U-turn on vow to identify killer cop after fingering wrong bloke
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.