Feeds

MS probes mystery IE bug

URL shortening shenanigans

Website security in corporate America

Microsoft is investigating reports of a new bug in Internet Explorer.

Redmond's Security Response Team (MSRT) said on Friday that it was aware of a "publicly disclosed issue involving Internet Explorer", and promised an investigation, without going into details.

Circumstantial evidence suggests Microsoft is referring to a post by security researcher Chris Evans, of Google, to a Full Disclosure mailing list on Friday, hours before MSRT's tweet.

"A nasty vulnerability exists in the latest Internet Explorer 8," Evans wrote. "I have been unsuccessful in persuading the vendor to issue a fix."

"The bug permits — for example — an arbitrary web site to force the victim to make tweets," he added.

The vulnerability may exist in other versions of IE and appears to be an extension of a cross-browser cross domain theft first documented by Evans via his scarybeastsecurity blog last December. Evans claims Microsoft has been aware of the bug since 2008, producing a harmless proof-of-concept exploit to illustrate his concerns.

Rik Ferguson, a senior security consultant at Trend Micro, explained that the exploit works by stealing the (supposedly secret) credentials for an already authenticated browser session, for example Twitter. "Those credentials are then abused to send arbitrary forged content," Ferguson writes.

The vulnerability might just as easily be used by other services that use URL shortening, according to Ferguson, who says that Opera, Chrome, Firefox and Safari have all already fixed this vulnerability. ®

Bootnote

A huge row kicked off back in June when another Google researcher, Tavis Ormandy, posted details of a Windows XP Help Center bug. Ormandy had given Microsoft just five days to fix the bug before going public. The incident reignited the long-running debate about the disclosure of security vulnerabilities, with spirited defences of their positions from both the full and responsible co-ordinated disclosure camps.

In the latest case, Evans apparently gave Redmond far longer to get its gear together before going public, and he only acted after other browser developers had issued patches, factors that mean it would be very hard to argue that he "jumped the gun".

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
Profitless Twitter: We're looking to raise $1.5... yes, billion
We'll spend the dosh on transactions, biz stuff 'n' sh*t
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
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.