Feeds

MS knew of Aurora exploit four months before Google attacks

China light on the matter

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
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
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
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

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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.