Feeds

MS knew of Aurora exploit four months before Google attacks

China light on the matter

Website security in corporate America

Microsoft first knew of the bug used in the infamous Operation Aurora IE exploits as long ago as August, four months before the vulnerability was used in exploits against Google and other hi-tech firms in December, it has emerged.

Redmond's security gnomes finally got around to patching the exploit on Thursday. Microsoft's advisory accompanying its cumulative update for IE credited Meron Sellem of Israeli firm BugSec for reporting the HTML Object Memory Corruption Vulnerability (CVE-2010-0249), the zero-day vulnerability used in the now infamous attacks.

BugSec's bulletin states that it reported the bug to the software giant on 26 August. The bug affected IE 6, IE 7 and IE 8 (the latest version), but the hack attacks against Google et al targeted IE 6, a browser first released in 2001. Exploits involved tricking users of vulnerable browsers into visiting booby-trapped websites. These sites downloaded the Hydraq backdoor Trojan and other malicious components onto compromised PCs.

ThreatPost, a Kaspersky Labs news service, reports that a patch against the flaw was lined up for release in February. It was published early in response to the row that followed Google's surprise admission last week, that the bug was being exploited in cyber-espionage attacks targeting it and other hi-tech firms.

Software vendors in general often take months to develop security fixes, a process that often involves a great deal of testing work. An unfortunate set of events meant that this particular bug became one of the most infamous in years. Even now we know the details, the future potency of the bug is far from immediately apparent.

A quick search of Secunia's database, via its PSI patching tool, reveals a problem with an unpatched ActiveX control that looks just as bad, for example.

More discussion on whether Microsoft's patch was tardy or not, and the role of the vulnerability in the Operation Aurora attacks (it may not have been the only vector), can be found in a blog entry by Graham Cluley of Sophos here. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
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?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.