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MS to release emergency IE fix on Tuesday

Drive-by download risk prompts out-of-sequence patch

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Microsoft has announced plans to release an out-of-sequence patch, designed to resolve a zero-day vulnerability in Internet Explorer.

A cumulative update to Internet Explorer (MS10-018) plugs a security hole in IE 6 and IE 7 exploited by hackers over recent weeks. The latest version of Microsoft's browser, IE 8, is not vulnerable to the flaw, which Microsoft first acknowledged was a problem on 9 March.

The iepeers.dll library is the weak spot - the flaw involving the handling of invalid values passed to the "setAttribute()" function. Exploits create a means to drop malware onto the PCs of victims, providing they visit booby-trapped websites using vulnerable versions of IE, as explained in our earlier story here.

Microsoft said in a statement that it had taken the unusual but not unprecedented step of releasing a patch outside its regularly Patch Tuesday update cycle after monitoring the situation and reaching the conclusion that "an out-of-band release is needed to protect customers". The update also includes fixes for nine other vulnerabilities in IE that Redmond had initially planned to release on 13 April. ®

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