Microsoft out-of-band patch demands immediate action

The patch addressing the public vulnerabilities in IE 6 could help companies avoid phishing attacks and other attempts to draw people to authorize legitimate Web sites containing the malicious code

Microsoft Tuesday released an out-of-band security update addressing 10 vulnerabilities in versions of Internet Explorer, one of which is being exploited in the wild against IE 6.

Microsoft Tuesday released an out-of-band, cumulative security update, MS10-018, that the company as well as industry watchers advise IT departments give immediate attention. The security update, released out of the normal Patch Tuesday cycle, includes one patch that addresses Microsoft Security Advisory 981374, which affects Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7. The company also released nine other patches in the cumulative update that impact nine vulnerabilities that are not publicly known at this time

"It's good to see that Microsoft can rapidly turn this patch around and help protect its customers against malicious threats, but the bad side is that the only reason the company would typically go out-of-band on a patch is because the exploit is that horrible and the exploit code is out there," says Jason Miller, data and security team manager at Shavlik Technologies.

The patch addressing the public vulnerabilities in IE 6 could help companies avoid phishing attacks and other attempts to draw people to authorize legitimate Web sites containing the malicious code. If impacted, systems could succumb to remote code execution, "if a user viewed a specially crafted Web page using" IE, Microsoft says.

According to Microsoft, "Internet Explorer 8 is unaffected by the vulnerability in Security Advisory 981374, and is not vulnerable to any of the current attacks." Yet industry watchers suggest IT organizations take swift measures to protect against the vulnerability in IE 6, but also warn not to take the updates impacting IE 8 lightly.

"A lot of people are going to focusing on the security advisory, which prompted the out-of-band release, but there are more than just the one fix. People with IE 8 may think they can disregard this because of the public patch around IE 6 and IE 7, but that is not the case. In the cumulative update, there are fixes to IE 8 as well. I suggest everyone read the bulletin carefully to understand how they might be impacted," Miller says.

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Denise Dubie

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