MS issues brown alert over unpatched IE 7 flaw

One in 500 exposed


Hackers have upped the ante by launching more attacks against an unpatched IE 7 flaw.

Microsoft warned on Saturday that attacks targeting the vulnerability, which affects versions of its flagship browser on all supported versions of Windows, are becoming more widespread. The security bug first came to prominence a week ago, just before the latest edition of Microsoft's update cycle.

At first the flaw was exploited in targeted Trojan attacks but it's now become much more widespread. Crackers have planted exploit code on warez and smut sites and, in some cases, legitimate sites through the use of website vulnerabilities. A popular search engine in Taiwan is among the victims.

As a result an estimated one in 500 users worldwide have been exposed to the vulnerability, Microsoft estimates. The volume of attacks grew by 50 per cent from Friday until Saturday alone with little sign of a let-up. It's highly unusual for Redmond to quote such stats, and the fact it has underlines the mounting seriousness of the problem.

At first it was reckoned that only IE 7 users were affected, but further analysis suggests that versions 5.01, 6, and 8 of the browser are also vulnerable. However, attack code currently in circulation aims to exploit surfers running IE7 specifically. Early prognosis of the vulnerability suggested error in parsing XML code were the problem, but further work has revealed that data binding bugs are the real culprit.

Suggested workarounds to defend against the flaw, pending a security patch from Microsoft, include disabling active scripting - as explained by US CERT here. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Twitter founder Dorsey beats hasty retweet from the board
    We'll see you around the Block

    Twitter has officially entered the post-Dorsey age: its founder and two-time CEO's board term expired Wednesday, marking the first time the social media company hasn't had him around in some capacity.

    Jack Dorsey announced his resignation as Twitter chief exec in November 2021, and passed the baton to Parag Agrawal while remaining on the board. Now that board term has ended, and Dorsey has stepped down as expected. Agrawal has taken Dorsey's board seat; Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor has assumed the role of Twitter's board chair. 

    In his resignation announcement, Dorsey – who co-founded and is CEO of Block (formerly Square) – said having founders leading the companies they created can be severely limiting for an organization and can serve as a single point of failure. "I believe it's critical a company can stand on its own, free of its founder's influence or direction," Dorsey said. He didn't respond to a request for further comment today. 

    Continue reading
  • Snowflake stock drops as some top customers cut usage
    You might say its valuation is melting away

    IPO darling Snowflake's share price took a beating in an already bearish market for tech stocks after filing weaker than expected financial guidance amid a slowdown in orders from some of its largest customers.

    For its first quarter of fiscal 2023, ended April 30, Snowflake's revenue grew 85 percent year-on-year to $422.4 million. The company made an operating loss of $188.8 million, albeit down from $205.6 million a year ago.

    Although surpassing revenue expectations, the cloud-based data warehousing business saw its valuation tumble 16 percent in extended trading on Wednesday. Its stock price dived from $133 apiece to $117 in after-hours trading, and today is cruising back at $127. That stumble arrived amid a general tech stock sell-off some observers said was overdue.

    Continue reading
  • Amazon investors nuke proposed ethics overhaul and say yes to $212m CEO pay
    Workplace safety, labor organizing, sustainability and, um, wage 'fairness' all struck down in vote

    Amazon CEO Andy Jassy's first shareholder meeting was a rousing success for Amazon leadership and Jassy's bank account. But for activist investors intent on making Amazon more open and transparent, it was nothing short of a disaster.

    While actual voting results haven't been released yet, Amazon general counsel David Zapolsky told Reuters that stock owners voted down fifteen shareholder resolutions addressing topics including workplace safety, labor organizing, sustainability, and pay fairness. Amazon's board recommended voting no on all of the proposals.

    Jassy and the board scored additional victories in the form of shareholder approval for board appointments, executive compensation and a 20-for-1 stock split. Jassy's executive compensation package, which is tied to Amazon stock price and mostly delivered as stock awards over a multi-year period, was $212 million in 2021. 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022