Feeds

Internet Explorer info leak festers for 2 years

Microsoft's 600-day bug bite

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

For almost two years, Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser has been vulnerable to attacks that steal digital security tokens and other sensitive data, a security researcher said recently.

Researcher Chris Evans said he alerted Microsoft to the information disclosure vulnerability in IE in December 2008. As of October 21, it remained unfixed, making his disclosure a “600-day” vulnerability, he quipped.

The bug resides in the IE mechanism for handling Javascript and runtime errors. In some cases, cross-origin content can be echoed back to attackers, allowing them to retrieve sensitive javascript variables. Once upon a time, this proof of concept exploited the vulnerability to steal a security token Google Reader uses to prevent XSRF, or cross-site request forgery, attacks. It has since been neutered by changes Google made, but when it worked, it forced the user to subscribe to a goat-farming feed without asking for permission.

“There are a varied number of text structures which can be stolen (iteratively if necessary) with this trick,” Evans warned.

Firefox was once vulnerable to similar attacks but maintainers of the open-source browser fixed the flaw in December 2008. That was the same month Microsoft was informed of the vulnerability, but it has been allowed to remain.

A Microsoft spokeswoman on Monday issued the following statement, which she attributed to Jerry Bryant, a spokesman for Microsoft response:

"Microsoft is aware of the public posting of a low severity information disclosure issue in Internet Explorer. A successful attack requires a victim website to be configured in a specific way which is non-standard for most sites. We are not aware of any attacks seeking to exploit this issue and will update customers if that changes." ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
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.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.