Microsoft promises emergency IE patch

The software giant is mum on when rush fix will arrive, plans to reveal delivery dateshortly

Microsoft today announced that it will issue an emergency security update for Internet Explorer (IE), but postponed setting a ship date for the fix until tomorrow.

"Given the significant level of attention this issue has generated, confusion about what customers can do to protect themselves and the escalating threat environment, Microsoft will release a security update out-of-band for this vulnerability," said George Stathakopoulos, general manager of the Trustworthy Computing Security group, in an entry on the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) blog.

"We take the decision to go out-of-band very seriously, given the impact to customers, but we believe releasing an update out-of-band update is the right decision at this time," Stathakopoulos said.

"It was inevitable, given all the hubbub," said Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle Network Security, in an instant message today. Last week, Storms predicted Microsoft would rush out an update before the next regularly-scheduled Patch Tuesday of Feb. 9.

The IE flaw has gained more attention than most zero-day bugs because it has been linked to the attacks that broke into Google 's corporate network last month. Google has claimed that the attacks originated in China.

Researchers have been busy building exploits since the original attack code went public last Thursday. Today, for example, a noted American vulnerability researcher and a French security company disclosed that they had created exploits that worked on the newer IE7 and IE8 , and could bypass the DEP (data execution prevention) protection that Microsoft has been touting since it acknowledged the bug.

As he did over the weekend, Stathakopoulos downplayed the threat again today.

"We continue to see very limited, and in some cases, targeted attacks," he said, adding that the only successful attacks found thus far have aimed at IE6. Stathakopoulos's phrasing, however, was different today than Sunday, when he last blogged, leaving it open to interpretation whether Microsoft has covertly confirmed reports from others that hackers are already leveraging the IE vulnerability in Web-based drive-by attacks .

Microsoft rarely issues out-of-band security updates. The last time it did so was July 2009, when it patched IE just hours before several researchers demonstrated a critical vulnerability at a security conference. Prior to the 2009 fix, Microsoft's most recent emergency update was a Windows patch in October 2008. That vulnerability was later exploited by the notorious Conficker worm .

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags MicrosoftInternet Explorerzero day exploit

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

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?