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Microsoft releases fix for 'Pwn2Own' security bug in IE

34 holes plugged

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

Microsoft on Tuesday patched at least 34 security holes in a wide range of software, including a bug in its Internet Explorer browser that fetched a researcher $10,000 at a hacker contest in April.

In all, Microsoft released 10 bulletins, three of which were rated “critical” because they allowed attackers to remotely install malware on victim machines. Other affected products include Windows, Office, Internet Information Services, and SharePoint.

The IE update fixes a vulnerability that fetched Peter Vreugdenhil, a researcher with Netherlands-based Vreugdenhil Research, $10,000 during the Pwn2Own contest at the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver. He was able to take full control of the Windows 7 machine despite protections known as DEP, or data execution prevention, and ASLR, or address space layout randomization.

They are designed to mitigate the severity of software bugs by randomizing the memory locations of code and preventing code loaded into memory from being able to be executed. Vreugdenhil was able to bypass those protections by combining two separate vulnerabilities.

The Microsoft fixes came the day after Apple fixed almost 50 vulnerabilities in its Safari browser, including a decade-old history leak that still plagues all other browsers. Microsoft has a summary here and as always, SANS has a useful outline here. ®

The next step in data security

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