We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Internet Explorer users given security advisory

Workarounds available for IE6 & IE7 bug

Microsoft has issued a security advisory that provides customers with guidance and workarounds for dealing with a zero-day exploit aimed at Internet Explorer.

Earlier yesterday, the company said it was investigating the incident which emerged over the weekend when someone published the exploit code to the Bugtraq mailing list. By Monday night, Microsoft switched gears and issued the advisory. There have not been any active exploits of the vulnerability reported so far.

Microsoft released Security Advisory 977981, which includes workarounds for an issue that exposes a flaw in Cascading Style Sheets that could allow for remote code execution. Vulnerabilities that allow remote-code execution generally result in patches rated as critical by Microsoft.

The advisory confirmed the vulnerability affects IE6 on Windows 2000 Service Pack 4, and IE6 and IE7 on supported editions of XP, Vista, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008. Microsoft’s said users running IE7 on Vista can configure the browser to run in Protected Mode to limit the impact of the vulnerability. It also recommended setting the internet zone security setting to 'High' to protect against the exploit. The 'High' setting will disable JavaScript, which currently is the only confirmed attack mode.

Microsoft said IE 5.01 Service Pack 4 and IE8 on all supported versions of Windows are not affected.

For an attack to work, the hacker would first have to get his victim to visit a website that hosted the exploit code. This could be a malicious website set up by the hacker himself or it could be a site that allows users to upload content.

Another way cyber criminals have launched this type of attack, however, is by hacking into legitimate websites. Earlier this week, for example citizen's band radio vendor Cobra Electronics disclosed that it had been hacked in June, most likely by a professional hacker who had used the site to download malware to customers.

Microsoft did not say whether it would patch the flaw during its next regularly scheduled set of security updates, due December 8.

(Robert McMillan of the IDG News Service contributed to this report.)

See also:

Windows XP users exposed by IE6 & IE7 hack

PC security advice


IDG UK Sites

Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2014 tech deals UK Live: Best Black Friday deals from Apple, Amazon,...

IDG UK Sites

Why are people still buying satnavs? Smartphones are the modern satnav

IDG UK Sites

New Star Wars trailer: Watch the VFX-laden teaser for The Force Awakens

IDG UK Sites

Black Friday 2014 UK: Apple deals, Amazon deals & Black Friday tech offers UPDATED