New Microsoft IE security flaw found

Another security problem has cropped up to plague Microsoft's browser Internet Explorer.

The software giant yesterday admitted a vulnerability in its Internet Explorer 5 that could allow a malicious Web site operator to read the files on the computer of a person who goes to the site, or on other computers on that user's local intranet.

Microsoft said it is working to develop a patch to fix the problem. Meanwhile, it is advising users to protect themselves by disabling the Active Scripting feature in IE 5.

Microsoft posted a warning on its Web site saying it had discovered the flaw in an IE 5 feature called "download behavior", intended to allow Web page authors to download files of client-side script, which is software designed to be run by the browser. Such software is designed to allow the Web site to only download files that are in its domain, and thus prevents the users' files from being accessed.

However, an ill-intentioned Web site operator could bypass domain restrictions and use download behavior to gain read access to files on the user's machine or local intranet, according to the Microsoft Web site.

A malicious Web operator would have to know specific file names to read them and could not copy, delete or alter them, said Scott Culp, a Microsoft security product manager. He added that there have been no reported security breaches.

The problem was reported by Georgi Guninski, a Bulgarian programmer who earlier found another Microsoft security flaw, Culp said.

The vulnerability can be stopped by disabling Active Scripting by taking the following steps:

-- In IE, select the Tools, then Internet Options, then click on the Security tab.

-- Select the Internet Zone, then click on the "Custom Level" button.

-- Under "Scripting," find the entry labelled "Active Scripting" and set it to "Disable."

-- Click OK twice to return to IE.

Microsoft said it will deliver a patch for a safe, new version of Download Behavior, which will be available at http://www.microsoft.com/security/Frequently asked questions about the problem can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/security/bulletins/ms99-040faq.aspMicrosoft has been hit by numerous security flaws in recent months. Last week, the company released a patch for Internet Explorer that eliminated the "ImportExportFavorites" vulnerability, a hole that allowed a Web site operator to carry out any function that visitors to a Web site could do on their own computers.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jack McCarthy

PC World

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?