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Internet Explorer XML Exploit Allows Remote Code Execution
Released the day after patch Tuesday this Extremely Critical IE exploit is completely different than the IE vulnerability fixed in the Dec 9th patch. This one allows remote code execution if the user visits a web page containing a specially crafted XML document.No Longer Supported
This vulnerability is being actively exploited.

Initial reports said that this vulnerability only affected IE7 but the latest reports indicate that all versions of Internet Explorer since 5.01 (including IE8 Beta 2) on all supported versions of Windows are probably vulnerable as well.

There have been many reports of web sites being compromised through SQL Injection in order to post Javascript that loads this code. Besides using a safer browser (see below) there isn't much you can do except stay away from untrusted sites and hope your trusted sites aren't compromised.


Mitigating Factors:
  • Protected Mode in Internet Explorer 7 and Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 in Windows Vista limits the impact of the vulnerability. Enabling DEP in Internet Explorer 7 on Windows Vista can help mitigate this vulnerability by making it more difficult to achieve code execution using this vulnerability.
  • By default, Internet Explorer on Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 runs in a restricted mode that is known as Enhanced Security Configuration. This mode sets the security level for the Internet zone to High. This is a mitigating factor for Web sites that you have not added to the Internet Explorer Trusted sites zone.
  • An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the local user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less affected than users who operate with administrative user rights.
  • Currently known attacks cannot exploit this issue automatically through e-mail.
  • This vulnerability can be mitigated by disabling Active Scripting in the Internet Zone, as specified in the "Securing Your Web Browser" document. Note that this will not block the vulnerability. IE still may crash when parsing specially-crafted XML content. Disabling Active Scripting will mitigate a common method used to achieve code execution with this vulnerability.
  • Do not browse untrusted websites or follow untrusted links.
  • Use another web browser, such as Firefox, Safari, or Opera

The next Patch Tuesday is scheduled for January 13.

References:
  • Microsoft Security Advisory (961051) - Vulnerability in Internet Explorer Could Allow Remote Code Execution
  • US-CERT.GOV: Vulnerability Note VU#493881 - Microsoft Internet Explorer contains an invalid pointer vulnerability in its data binding code. This flaw can cause an invalid array size and result in the accessing of memory space of a deleted object. Specially-crafted XML content that performs data binding can cause IE to crash in a way that is exploitable. Limited testing has shown this vulnerability to affect Internet Explorer 7 and later, up to and including Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2. However, all versions of Internet Explorer from 4.0 and on may be at risk. We have confirmed that Outlook Express is also at risk. Exploit code for this vulnerability is publicly available.
  • Secunia - Listed as "Extremely Critical.
  • McAfee Avert Labs Blog - Downloader Trojan Exploits Hole in IE 7
  • CNET - Microsoft: Hole exploit endangers all IE versions- "An unpatched security hole in Internet Explorer that is being exploited affects all versions of the browser, making it more serious than originally believed when it was first publicized two days ago, Microsoft says."
  • CVE-2008-4844



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Posted by NIST.org on Sunday 14 December 2008 - 22:17:44 | |printer friendly
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