Feeds

Hackers ZERO IN on ZOMBIE XP boxes: Get patching, Internet Explorer 8 users

Multi-pronged malfeasance targets gov, energy, finance

Seven Steps to Software Security

A newly uncovered attack specifically targeting out-of-support Windows XP machines running Internet Explorer 8 is being used to hack potential victims in multiple industries across Europe and North America, according to security researchers.

This is the first “in the wild” attack spotted against Windows XP after Microsoft pulled the life support last month. It was severe enough to prompt Redmond into releasing an emergency, unscheduled patch on Thursday.

The same MS14-021 bulletin also covers critical patches for multiple versions of Windows (including Windows 7 and 8) and the latest versions of IE, so it's not just a problem for those running legacy software.

According to security firm FireEye, multiple hacking crews are using the vulnerability to target government and energy sector organisations in the US and Europe. Firms in finance and defence are also in the firing line of attacks based an the vulnerability.

"We have seen multiple threat actor groups are now adopting this exploit," a FireEye spokeswoman explained.

FireEye initially said the vulnerability affects IE6 through IE11, but the attack is targeting IE9 through IE11, and noted that the approach circumvented Redmond's built-in security preventions (ASLR and DEP) when it first warned about the flaw on 26 April.

It only mentioned the Windows XP element to these so-called "Operation Clandestine Fox" attacks after MS released the emergency fix on 1 May.

Despite its undead status many organisations still make heavy use of Windows XP in their computing infrastructures. For example, an estimated three quarters of UK businesses are still running XP despite the end of XP support. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.