Microsoft confirms IE6, IE7 zero-day bug
Computerworld - Microsoft today confirmed that exploit code published last week can compromise PCs running older versions of Internet Explorer (IE), but said its security team has not yet seen any in-the-wild attacks.
The attack code, which was posted Friday to the Bugtraq security mailing list, affects both Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) and the newer IE7, Microsoft acknowledged. "Microsoft can confirm that the publicly available exploit code affects IE6 and IE7, not IE8," a company spokesman said in an e-mail reply to questions today.
IE6 and IE7 account for more than 41% of all browsers used worldwide, according to the most recent data from metrics firm Net Applications. IE8, meanwhile, has an 18.1% market share.
Over the weekend, Symantec researchers took note of the exploit code, but said that it was shaky. "The exploit currently exhibits signs of poor reliability, but we expect that a fully-functional reliable exploit will be available in the near future," the security company's analysis team said in an entry on a company blog Saturday.
According to Danish vulnerability tracking vendor Secunia, the flaw is in IE's layout parser, and could be exploited by hackers to hijack fully-patched Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) machines. Secunia rated the vulnerability as "highly critical," its second-highest threat ranking.
Microsoft declined to answer questions about which versions of Windows are vulnerable. Windows Vista, for example, ships with IE7. Windows 7, however, relies on the unaffected IE8.
The company also declined to spell out plans for quashing the IE bug. "Microsoft is investigating new public claims of a possible vulnerability in Internet Explorer," the spokesman said, using boilerplate that the company regularly rolls out when it's asked about patching progress. "Once we're done investigating, we will take appropriate action to help protect customers ... [which] may include providing a security update through the monthly release process, an out-of-cycle update or additional guidance to help customers protect themselves."
Microsoft will issue its next scheduled security updates in a little more than two weeks on Dec. 8.
One security researcher said it's unlikely Microsoft will move fast enough to make that deadline. "Seeing as though they haven't even posted an advisory, and with the holiday this week, I'm doubting a Dec. 8 release," said Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle Network Security.
More likely, said Storms, is that Microsoft will offer steps that IE6 and IE7 users can take to defend themselves.
- Researcher claims two hacker gangs exploiting unpatched IE bug
- Update: Third of Internet Explorer users at risk from attacks
- Microsoft plans another short patch slate for next week, but finds a few XP bugs to crush
- Target attack shows danger of remotely accessible HVAC systems
- Target hackers try new ways to use stolen card data
- Update: Microsoft to patch just-revealed Windows zero-day tomorrow
- NSA spying prompts open TrueCrypt encryption software audit to go viral
- Microsoft warns of Office zero-day, active hacker exploits
- Hackers move to create next Blackhole after 'Paunch' arrest
- Adobe hack shows subscription software vendors lucrative targets
Read more about Security in Computerworld's Security Topic Center.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle.
- Mobile Policy Checklist Here's what to consider when putting together a mobile policy designed to support a highly productive workforce.
- Securing BYOD Mobile computing is becoming so ubiquitous that people no longer bat an eye seeing someone working two devices simultaneously. Individuals and organizations are...
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Endpoint Backup & Restore: Protect Everyone, Everywhere Arek Sokol from the bleeding-edge IT team at Genentech/Roche explains how he leverages cross-platform enterprise endpoint backup in the public cloud as part...
- Streamline Software Asset Management, Compose a software Management Symphony Keeping track of your organization's software is easy with effective software management solutions from CDW. View the videos in our software solutions channel
- Druva inSync: Endpoint Data Protection & Governance CLICK HERE to watch this video about protecting corporate data on laptops and mobile devices, sponsored by Druva. All Security White Papers | Webcasts