Feeds

MS probes mystery IE bug

URL shortening shenanigans

Boost IT visibility and business value

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".

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Sin COS to tan Windows? Chinese operating system to debut in autumn – report
Development alliance working on desktop, mobe software
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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?