Feeds

Microsoft plasters IE8 hole abused in nuke lab PC meltdown

Security stopgap follows shock US boffinry attack

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Microsoft has issued a temporary fix for a high-profile Internet Explorer 8 vulnerability. This is the bug linked to recent targeted attacks against web pages accessed by nuclear weapons research teams at the US Department of Labor website.

The Fix It, released late on Wednesday, is designed to offer a temporary block against attacks based on the zero-day vulnerability ahead of a more comprehensive patch.

Applying the Fix will not require a reboot, a important factor in corporate environments. Microsoft is withholding details on what the Fix It actually does - at least until after its security gnomes forge a proper patch.

Redmond recommends that all customers using Internet Explorer 8 apply the stop-gap Fix It. Users of other versions of Internet Explorer are not affected and therefore need not worry.

"We have updated Security Advisory 2847140 with an easy one-click Fix It to help protect Internet Explorer 8 customers," said Dustin Childs, group manager of response communications at Microsoft Trustworthy Computing in a statement.

"Customers should apply the Fix It or follow the workarounds listed in the advisory to help protect against the known attacks while we continue working on a security update. Internet Explorer 6, 7, 9 and 10 are not affected."

The Fix It is an easy-to-apply alternative to various workarounds detailed by Microsoft when it admitted there was a serious hole in its browser software late last week. Part of these defences rely on using Microsoft’s free Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET), which offers added protection against 0-days targeted at browsers on Windows systems that specifically tackle memory corruption-related security bugs.

IE 8 comes pre-installed on Windows 7 systems but users have the straightforward option of upgrading to IE 9 in order to stay out of harm's way, an option unavailable to laggards running Windows XP boxes.

A blog post by Wolfgang Kandek, CTO at cloud security firm Qualys, commenting on the vulnerability and suggested defence tactics can be found here.

Stats from Qualys's BrowserCheck service suggest that 42 per cent of all systems are running IE 8. If successfully exploited, the 0-day vulnerability (CVE-2013-1347) in IE 8 yields full control of compromised Windows machines, allowing hackers to install malware such as the Poison Ivy Trojan.

The exploit has reared its ugly head on several other websites since its initial discovery on a US Department of Labor website on 1 May. Since then the exploit has also been bundled into Metasploit, the popular open-source penetration testing toolkit. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
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.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
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.
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.