Microsoft tests fix for IE bug as exploits appear

A recently identified Internet Explorer security hole is now being exploited and Microsoft hopes to include a fix for it in its April 11 patch or maybe even earlier, according to a posting on a Microsoft blog.

So far, attacks are limited in scope, Stephen Toulouse, head of Microsoft's Security Response Center, wrote on the center's blog on Saturday. On Monday however, Web security company Websense Inc. said it has found hundreds of sites taking advantage of the weakness and that the number of such sites is rapidly growing.

The vulnerability, first identified last week before actually being exploited, allows hackers to entice Web surfers to visit Web sites where malicious code can then be automatically run on the visitor's computer. It exploits a vulnerability in the way that IE renders HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and affects Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, Toulouse said. Users of IE7 Beta 2, the most recent version of IE, won't be affected by the bug, Microsoft said.

"We're working day and night on development of a cumulative security update for Internet Explorer that addresses the vulnerability," Toulouse wrote. The update is currently being tested and is expected to be released as part of Microsoft's already scheduled April 11 security update, he said. However, Microsoft could release the fix earlier if the threat grows, he said.

The Web sites that Websense have found download different types of malicious code including back doors and Trojan horses onto Web surfers' machines. Back doors bypass regular authentication requirements, enabling unauthorized access to computers, and Trojan horses are malicious programs disguised as legitimate applications.

Microsoft is working with industry partners and law enforcement to remove Web sites that are already exploiting the vulnerability, Toulouse said.

Web surfers can avoid the attack by turning off Active Scripting, Microsoft said. Toulouse's blog posting as well as additional tips for how to prevent being targeted by such attacks can be found here:

The vulnerability is the third such IE bug to surface within the last two weeks and is considered the most serious because it is relatively easy to exploit.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?