Print 65 comment(s) - last by MrPoletski.. on Dec 23 at 9:12 AM

A new security flaw discovered in Microsoft's Internet Explorer has the company and its customers losing much sleep

News broke in the security world earlier this week that a critical vulnerability had been found in Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7.  The vulnerability could be used to take over computers and is known to be currently being used to steal passwords.

Rick Ferguson, a senior security adviser at security firm Trend Micro says thus far the hole has only been exploited to steal online game passwords, but the attacks could become much more serious for unpatched users.  He states, "It is inevitable that it will be adapted by criminals. It's just a question of modifying the payload the trojan installs."

The seriousness of the flaw was evidenced by Microsoft's rather public announcement of the vulnerability and panicked rush to develop a patch.  So-called "out-of-band" announcements from Microsoft are rare. 

In this case it made such an announcement, stating in a press release, "Microsoft teams worldwide have been working around the clock to develop a security update to help protect our customers.  Until the update is available, Microsoft strongly encourages customers to follow the Protect Your Computer Guidance at, which includes activating the Automatic Update setting in Windows to ensure that they receive the update as soon as it is available."

Microsoft has announced that it will have a patch for the vulnerability by 1800 GMT on 17 December, available via Windows Update.

Some experts have suggested that corporate and private users switch browsers, to an alternative such as Firefox, Opera, or Chrome until the security flaw is patched on affected systems.  Only Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 is vulnerable to this latest attack.

However, some security experts are cautioning that a switch may be equally problematic.  Says Graham Cluley, senior consultant with security firm Sophos, "Firefox has issued patches and Apple has too. Whichever browser you are using you have to keep it up to date.  People have to be prepared and willing to install security updates. That nagging screen asking if you want to update should not be ignored."

The report ironically follows fast on a report that Firefox is a dangerously vulnerable application for businesses.  Apple's Safari has also been blasted within the last year for poor security and patching

Even the security of major open source software, not a popular target for hackers who heavily use such software, was recently brought into question when a major encryption scheme was found to be broken.  All of these instances illustrating the growing challenge of computer security, the difficulty with being a market leader (and thus a mark), and need for diligence when it comes to patches and updates.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By GoodBytes on 12/17/2008 1:35:34 PM , Rating: 4
Once I install Windows, I don't install anti-spyware, anti-virus programs, nor even update windows. I just install myself viruses, trojans, warms, and several malwares. Like this I am already affected, and I have not to worry. I mean it's like your body right? It makes my computer immune system stronger this way. Right?

RE: Solution
By spread on 12/17/2008 1:53:37 PM , Rating: 2
That's right. With enough viruses on your PC, they'll defend your PC from other viruses ensuring that you still can't use it for a simple task like browsing a website.

RE: Solution
By notolerance on 12/17/2008 6:42:09 PM , Rating: 2
If it gets to that state, one could then call it a multipurpose device. Attach a rope to the system, and it becomes a quite effective boat anchor..

RE: Solution
By kelmon on 12/18/2008 9:52:52 AM , Rating: 2
Well, hackers have been known to write viruses that delete the viruses written by their "competitors", as well as doing whatever nefarious thing they were written for. Odd.

RE: Solution
By Gzus666 on 12/17/2008 2:55:11 PM , Rating: 2
This reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Mr. Burns goes to the doctor and finds out he has everything, ha. Then he shows them how the germs are all stuck at the door to his body with those novelty stuffed germs. CLASSIC!

RE: Solution
By Jellodyne on 12/17/2008 5:46:21 PM , Rating: 4
Mr. Burns: So what you're saying is, I'm indestructible!
Doctor: Oh, no, no, in fact, even slight breeze could --
Mr. Burns: Indestructible.

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki