Feeds

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

Hardened browser pwned

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.