How to neutralize today's worst Web attacks

How to neutralize today's worst Web attacks

Symantec recently posted details about a new version of MPack, a for-sale Web attack kit that loads up a site with exploits against Windows, QuickTime, and WinZip. The $400 kit was used in the June "Italian Job", an online assault that hijacked tens of thousands of Web sites, most of them in Italy. Crooks can buy MPack and a host of other nefarious programs on a thriving online black market.

In its post, Symantec listed only which holes the new MPack version targets; I followed up with the company to get specifics and links to fixes. All of the vulnerabilities allow an attacker to take over your PC if you view a tainted Web page. And according to Roger Thompson of Exploit Prevent Labs, another popular kit called Icepack attacks the same flaws.

Since thousands of poisoned Web sites actively attack these program vulnerabilities, they are must-close holes -- and making sure they're fixed will go a good ways toward keeping you safe online. The first three vulnerabilities listed here affect Windows; if you've been keeping up with Automatic Updates, you should have the patches. To make sure, run Windows Update from the Start menu, or download the patches individually from Microsoft. The other two attacks hit QuickTime and WinZip, and are meant to catch people who might update Windows but not worry about other programs.

The must-close holes

Microsoft XML Core Services overflow

Critical flaw for Windows XP SP2, Windows 2000 SP4, and Windows Vista

Get the fix from Windows Update, or Microsoft

WebViewFolderIcon overflow

Critical flaw for Windows XP SP1 and SP2, and Windows 2000 SP4

Get the fix from Windows Update, or Microsoft

ANI overflow

Critical flaw for Windows XP SP2, Windows 2000 SP4, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2003

Get the fix from Windows Update, or Microsoft

WinZip ActiveX overflow

Critical flaw for WinZip 10 prior to build 7245 on Windows (WinZip doesn't specify which versions of Windows)

Get the fix (and instructions) from WinZip

QuickTime overflow

Critical flaw for QuickTime Player 7.1.3 on Windows XP/2000

Get the fix (and instructions) from Apple, or choose Help, Update Existing Software from the QuickTime menu.

Other threats

But just as a steering-wheel lock won't stop someone from smashing your car window, closing these holes doesn't guarantee that you'll be safe online.

To repel e-mail threats, the other major attack vector, be on your guard against any unsolicited e-mail links or attachments, even if the message uses your name and doesn't contain obvious grammatical errors. One currently operating assault uses data stolen from Monster.com to send personalized attack messages to job seekers.

And of course, keep your antivirus software up-to-date. Antivirus software won't usually be of direct help in blocking crooks' intrusions via exploits like these, but often it can stop the malicious software that criminals attempt to install after breaking in.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Erik Larkin

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Shining a light on creativity

MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?