Feeds

Microsoft scrambles to thwart new Internet Explorer 0-day attack

Patch Tuesday can't come soon enough

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Microsoft has pushed out a temporary fix to defend against a zero-day vulnerability that surfaced in attacks launched last week.

The security flaw (CVE-2012-4792) - which affects IE 6, 7 and 8 but not the latest versions of Microsoft's web browser software - allows malware to be dropped onto Windows PCs running the vulnerable software, providing, of course, that users can be tricked into visiting booby-trapped websites.

Redmond has released a temporary Fix It (easy-to-apply workaround) pending the development of a more comprehensive patch.

The flaw was initially discovered by security tools firm FireEye on the Council on Foreign Relations website on 27 December.

The attack had been running for at least a week, and perhaps longer, before it was detected. Retrospective analysis by Sophos suggests the same exploit was used on at least five additional websites, suggesting assaults using the bug are far from limited.

"While the assaults appeared to be targeting a small number of sites, there is no obvious link between the victims," noted Chester Wisniewski, a senior security advisor at Sophos Canada, in a blog post. "Some are referring to this as a 'watering hole' attack*, but the evidence we have doesn't necessarily support that conclusion."

Security watchers advise either applying Redmond's workarounds, upgrading to IE 9 or using an alternative browser - at least until a proper patch becomes available. The next patch Tuesday is coming up on 8 January. This doesn't give Microsoft much time but given the high-profile nature of the vulnerability it's likely that Redmond will release a patch sooner rather than later. ®

* Watering hole attacks have become a feature of cyber-espionage attacks over recent months. Instead of infecting the website of a military contractor or government agency directly, hackers compromise the website of a third party that is frequently visited by users who also visit the targeted organisation. This might be the website of a local sports team or a site with content relevant to the core business of the targeted organisation, for example.

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
TorrentLocker unpicked: Crypto coding shocker defeats extortionists
Lousy XOR opens door into which victims can shove a foot
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
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.
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.