Feeds

MS issues brown alert over unpatched IE 7 flaw

One in 500 exposed

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Hackers have upped the ante by launching more attacks against an unpatched IE 7 flaw.

Microsoft warned on Saturday that attacks targeting the vulnerability, which affects versions of its flagship browser on all supported versions of Windows, are becoming more widespread. The security bug first came to prominence a week ago, just before the latest edition of Microsoft's update cycle.

At first the flaw was exploited in targeted Trojan attacks but it's now become much more widespread. Crackers have planted exploit code on warez and smut sites and, in some cases, legitimate sites through the use of website vulnerabilities. A popular search engine in Taiwan is among the victims.

As a result an estimated one in 500 users worldwide have been exposed to the vulnerability, Microsoft estimates. The volume of attacks grew by 50 per cent from Friday until Saturday alone with little sign of a let-up. It's highly unusual for Redmond to quote such stats, and the fact it has underlines the mounting seriousness of the problem.

At first it was reckoned that only IE 7 users were affected, but further analysis suggests that versions 5.01, 6, and 8 of the browser are also vulnerable. However, attack code currently in circulation aims to exploit surfers running IE7 specifically. Early prognosis of the vulnerability suggested error in parsing XML code were the problem, but further work has revealed that data binding bugs are the real culprit.

Suggested workarounds to defend against the flaw, pending a security patch from Microsoft, include disabling active scripting - as explained by US CERT 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.