MS confirms that all versions of IE have critical new bug

It adds IE6 and IE8 Beta 2 to the list, recommends disabling .dll to stay safe

The unpatched bug in Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) that hackers are now exploiting also exists in older versions of the browser, including the still-widely-used IE6, Microsoft said late Thursday.

Friday, a Danish security researcher added that Microsoft's original countermeasure advice was insufficient, and recommended users take one of the new steps the company spelled out.

In a revised security advisory, Microsoft said research confirmed that the bug is within all its browsers, including those it currently supports -- IE5.01, IE6 and IE7 -- as well as IE8 Beta 2, a preview version the company doesn't support through normal channels.

Users running any of those browsers on Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Server 2003 or Server 2008 are at risk, Microsoft said.

Even so, the company continued to downplay the severity of the threat. "At this time, we are aware only of limited attacks that attempt to use this vulnerability against Windows Internet Explorer 7," said the advisory.

Microsoft also spelled out the root of the problem, saying that the bug is in IE's data binding functionality, and not, contrary to earlier reports by independent security researchers, in the HTML rendering code.

"The vulnerability exists as an invalid pointer reference in the data binding function of Internet Explorer," said Microsoft. "When data binding is enabled (which is the default state), it is possible under certain conditions for an object to be released without updating the array length, leaving the potential to access the deleted object's memory space. This can cause Internet Explorer to exit unexpectedly, in a state that is exploitable."

Microsoft also hinted that the "oledb32.dll" file contains the bug when it added recommendations that users disable or cripple the .dll's function as stop-gap measures. Oledb32.dll is a component of Microsoft Data Access, a collection of technologies for accessing different types of data in a uniform fashion. "OLEDB" stands for "Object Linking and Embedding, Database."

Danish security company Secunia claimed that its research, which it said has been passed along to Microsoft, identified the vulnerability's true nature. "After having published our initial advisory concerning this [zero]-day, one of my guys was therefore tasked with figuring out the exact nature of the problem," said Carsten Eiram, chief security specialist at Secunia, in a post to the company's blog early Friday. "It turned out that a lot of available information and assumptions were wrong."

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.

Tags internet explorer 7

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
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

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?