Two critical Explorer holes chink SP2's armor

New security flaws have been discovered in Microsoft's Internet Explorer that could compromise users' systems and allow hackers to bypass the added Windows XP security that came with SP2.

The latest alerts, discovered by http-equiv, concern Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0. The first is a flaw in Explorer's "drag and drop" feature, which could enable hackers to plant fake dialog boxes in a browser window.

The second concerns Explorer's security zone restriction feature. Hackers could potentially bypass the security built into this feature in XP Service Pack 2. Once the security is bypassed, it is possible for hackers to plant malicious code on the victim's computer, which could be used to execute local HTML documents. The two vulnerabilities, when used together, could allow malicious websites to plant and run code on a victim's PC.

Users are vulnerable to both vulnerabilities unless they disable Active Scripting, said Thomas Kristensen, chief technology officer with Secunia. "These vulnerabilities are serious flaws in Internet Explorer," he said. "They do need to be fixed, but to put it in perspective, you're not going to find your whole system is compromised by them."

The latest announcement follows a week of security warnings for Internet users. In recent days, flaws have been discovered in a number of popular web browsers, including Mozilla, Konquerer and Opera.

Those warnings concerned the tabbed browser features used in Opera, Mozilla and some add-ons to Internet Explorer. If users simultaneously opened secure and insecure websites using the tabbed browser feature, it was possible for a malicious website to plant content on the secure website in another tab. Users can protect themselves by disabling JavaScript when using the tabbed browser feature, or simply avoid using trusted and untrusted websites simultaneously.

Microsoft said in a statement that it didn't know of any customers who had been attacked as a result of the security flaw. "Early reports indicate that significant user action is required to execute this attack," said the company, in a statement. "An attacker would need to first entice the user to visit a specific website and then entice the user to take a series of specific actions on the site, then reboot or log off before the attack could succeed."

While that makes the mass exploitation of these holes less likely, they nevertheless stand out as clear indication that problems with Microsoft software security are still far from solved with SP2.

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.

Sally Whittle

Techworld.com
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?