Feeds

Internet Explorer info leak festers for 2 years

Microsoft's 600-day bug bite

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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." ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
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.