Feeds

In-the-wild attacks find hole in (fully-patched) IE 7

Hardened browser pwned

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Updated Security researchers are reporting in-the-wild attacks targeting a previously unknown vulnerability in fully patched versions of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. They surfaced on the same day that Microsoft released its biggest batch of security patches in five years.

Internet users located in China report infections that result when using IE 7 to browse booby-trapped websites. Researchers from McAfee investigated the matter and found the exploits successfully target the Microsoft browser on both Windows XP Service Pack 3 and Vista SP 1.

The exploits contain shellcode that installs the Downloader-AZN, a well-known trojan that hijacks a PC's configuration settings and downloads additional pieces of malware. Anti-virus software from McAfee, and presumably other companies, detects the trojan - though at the time of writing, it appeared they didn't yet detect the zero-day exploit itself.

The attacks target a flaw in the way IE handles certain types of data that use the extensible markup language, or XML, format. The bug references already freed memory in the mshtml.dll file. According to IDG News, exploits work about one in three times, and only after a victim has visited a website that serves a malicious piece of javascript.

Microsoft researchers are looking in to the reports, a company spokesman said Tuesday morning. Some eight hours later, the company had not yet issued an update.

The reports came just hours ahead of Patch Tuesday, Microsoft's monthly release of security updates. The patches included a cumulative update for IE that fixed four flaws that were rated critical because they could be used to remotely install malware with little or no action required of the user. Unfortunately, the miscreants are exploiting a separate security hole in IE, so the updates do nothing to protect users against the attacks.

In all, the Microsoft patch batch fixed 28 vulnerabilities, 23 of which carried the critical rating. Other Microsoft products that were updated included the Windows operating system, Office and Windows Media Player.

McAfee's report is here. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.