Microsoft releases advisory offering workarounds for IE vulnerability

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Sep 18, 2012

German government advises users to use alternative browser.

Microsoft has released a security advisory to address the zero-day vulnerability in its Internet Explorer browser that we wrote about yesterday.

Among the advised actions to mitigate the vulnerability are the deployment of a mitigation toolkit and turning off active scripting for all but trusted websites.

It is unknown when a patch will be available and whether it will be released as an out-of-band emergency patch. However, given that the exploit has already been added to the Metasploit toolkit, popular among penetration testers, it may be a matter of days if not hours before cybercriminals include the exploit in kits such as Blackhole; hence it is generally expected that a patch will follow soon.

Meanwhile, it has become known that the vulnerability also affects Internet Explorer 9 (the exploit discovered this weekend only attempted to infect users running versions 7 and 8), while the use of Flash is not necessary. Flash is just one of a number of tools that can be used to bypass address space layout randomization (ASLR), which itself is not part of the vulnerability, but which is needed for the exploit to work.

Today, the German goverment, via its Federal IT Security office, released a statement advising users to switch to an alternative browser until a patch has been found. While not using a program is certainly the best way to avoid its vulnerabilities, one might wonder how many people will follow such advice - these days, many Internet users are somewhat religious about the browser they use. And of course, other browsers have had their fair share of vulnerabilities as well.

Of course, if fear of a reduced marketshare will prompt Microsoft into releasing a patch quickly, this is not a bad thing.

Posted on 18 September 2012 by Martijn Grooten

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