Russians help exploit Microsoft flaw
A recently discovered serious flaw in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser for Windows is being exploited on various Web sites through the help of a Russian connection. The flaw, as usual, does not apply to Macs, but provides interesting insights into the Windows (under)world.
The flaw is especially worrisome in that all a Windows IE user needs to do is go to the wrong Web site to have their machine taken over and malware of pretty much any sort installed on it. Porn sites seem to be particularly vulnerable (what a surprise). The maliciously-crafted Web site simply exploits a bug in IE where incorrectly formed VML (vector markup language) code on the site causes IE to crash in such a way that the machine can be taken over.
Crafting a Web site just right (or just wrong) to cause the crash would be quite difficult were it not for some Russian help. A group in Russia is purportedly selling a “Web Attacker toolkit” that makes crafting malicious Web sites of various sorts significantly easier. Sort of like the scripts used by the “script kiddies” we talk about in our book. Pretty sad. Just life in the “new world order,” I guess.
(BTW, if you really need to use Windows for something, for instance under Boot Camp, don’t connect your machine to the Internet if you can avoid doing so, and certainly use a browser other than IE if you need to surf the Web).
Thursday, September 21, 2006