IE zero-day exploit being used in widespread attacks

The exploit is being distributed from many compromised websites around the world, researchers from Symantec said

The number of attacks exploiting a yet-to-be-patched vulnerability in Internet Explorer has increased dramatically over the past few days, indicating the exploit is no longer used just in targeted attacks against particular groups of people.

The vulnerability affects Internet Explorer 9 and 10 and was publicly revealed on Feb. 13 by researchers from security firm FireEye who found an exploit for the flaw being served from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) website. Security researchers from security firm Websense later reported that the same vulnerability was being exploited from the compromised website of French aerospace association GIFAS (Groupement des Industries Francaises Aeronautiques et Spatiales).

Microsoft published a security advisory about the vulnerability, which is tracked as CVE-2014-0322, and released a "Fix It" tool as a temporary workaround. However, the company has not yet released a regular patch through the regular Windows update channel.

The attacks reported by FireEye and Websense are known as "watering hole attacks" because they involve compromising websites visited by particular groups of people that attackers wish to target -- in these particular cases U.S. military personnel and French defense contractors.

This kind of attacks are different than the catch-all drive-by download attacks where exploits are delivered from a large number of compromised websites in order to affect as many Web users as possible.

"We have continued to closely monitor attacks focusing on CVE-2014-0322," security researchers from Symantec said Tuesday in a blog post. "We've observed trends suggesting that attacks targeting this vulnerability are no longer confined to advanced persistent threats (APT) -- the zero-day attacks are expanding to attack average Internet users as well."

According to Symantec's telemetry data, the number of attacks that exploit this vulnerability increased dramatically since Feb. 22 and affected users in many parts of the world, including North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

A particularly large number of attacks were detected in Japan and the type of websites that were compromised to deliver the zero-day exploit varied.

"The following sites were compromised in these attacks: a community site for mountain hikers, an adult dating service site, a website promoting language education, a website providing financial market information, an online shopping site and the website of a Japanese tour provider," the Symantec researchers said.

The sites hosted the exploit themselves or had a rogue iframe injected into them that loaded the exploit from a different site. Based on the components used, the Symantec researchers believe the same group of attackers is behind the compromises.

"If the attack is successful, the exploit drops a banking Trojan that steals login details from certain banks," the Symantec researchers said.

Users should either upgrade to Internet Explorer 11, which is not affected by this vulnerability, or install the Fix It solution provided by Microsoft.

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 Microsoftmalwaresymanteconline safetyintrusionwebsenseFireEyepatchesExploits / vulnerabilities

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

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?