Feeds

Second unpatched ActiveX bug hits IE

Swiss cheese browser gains extra hole

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

Scallywags are using an unpatched vulnerability in an ActiveX component to distribute malware, Microsoft warned on Monday. The development adds to already pressing unresolved Internet Explorer security bug woes.

No patch is available for the Office Web Components ActiveX security hole, although there are workarounds which can be automated for enterprise rollouts. The flawed component is used by IE to display Excel spreadsheets, greatly increasing the scope for mischief. Win XP and Win 2003 systems are particularly at risk, while the additional security controls in Vista cover Microsoft's modesty.

Redmond said it's aware of attacks against the security bug, which would involve tricking users into visiting booby-trapped websites. McAfee warns of targeted Trojan attacks based on the vulnerability circulating in China.

The timing of the advisory, a day before Microsoft's monthly Patch Tuesday update, suggests it's highly unlikely that a fix will become available until August at the earliest.

Monday's advisory adds to the list of pending Internet Explorer vulnerabilities, most notably an unpatched flaw in Microsoft Video ActiveX Control that has become the target of widespread exploitation since earlier this month. The flaw is particularly serious because Internet Explorer users can get hit simply by straying onto a hacker-controlled website, providing they are running Windows XP. Vista, as with the latest ActiveX bug, is far less susceptible.

Six updates - three of which address critical flaws in Windows - are due from Microsoft later on Tuesday, as explained here. Redmond is expected to patch the more pressing (and longstanding) online video ActiveX bug later.

Nonetheless, the current outbreak of unpatched ActiveX bugs has prompted some security watchers, including the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Centre (here) and F-Secure (here), to advise punters to consider using alternative browsers in preference to Internet Explorer. ®

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
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.