DirectX SDK bug means bad news for IE users

Exploit code published, US-CERT recommends setting 'kill bit'

The DirectX software development kit Microsoft issued in 2002 contains a critical vulnerability, a Polish researcher claimed as he released attack code that can hijack Windows PCs by tempting Internet Explorer users to malicious sites.

According to Krystian Kloskowski, who posted exploit code on the milw0rm.com site, the FlashPix ActiveX control included with DirectX Media 6.0 SDK contains a buffer overflow bug that can be exploited. More importantly, according to an advisory issued by US-CERT on Sunday, "because the FlashPix ActiveX control is marked 'Safe for Scripting,' Internet Explorer can be used as an attack vector for this vulnerability."

Internet Explorer 6 (IE 6) can be leveraged to exploit the flaw, noted Kloskowski, but there was no word on whether the newer IE 7 is also a workable attack vector. Microsoft did not immediately reply to queries on the severity of Kloskowski's vulnerability.

The likely attack scenario, said US-CERT, would be a malicious site that includes the exploit, and spam that tries to dupe users into clicking on a link to that site. Alternately, an HTML e-mail message -- with the exploit buried in the HTML -- could also be used. In that case, infection would occur as soon as the recipient viewed the message.

Danish bug tracker Secunia rated the vulnerability as "highly critical," its second-highest threat ranking in its five-step scoring system. US-CERT, meanwhile, recommended taking the somewhat-extreme steps of either disabling all ActiveX controls or setting what's called a "kill bit" using the registry to disarm only the FlashPix control. US-CERT's warning included the string to add to the Windows registry to set the FlashPix kill bit.

Although Microsoft has added additional security features to both IE 6 and IE 7 over the years to clamp down on threats posed by buggy ActiveX controls, they remain a problem. Late last month, for example, Yahoo Widgets, a platform that runs small, Web-based gadgets on a Windows machine's desktop, was tagged with a critical vulnerability in an associated ActiveX control.

Join the newsletter!

Or
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.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

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.

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?