By Yardena Arar
As of this writing, Microsoft is scheduled to release on Jan. 21 an update that fixes the Internet Explorer vulnerability behind the recent, highly publicized cyberattacks on Google and other major corporations.
The sophisticated “Aurora” exploit is delivered through common file attachments or links — typically in e-mail or other messages that appear to come from trusted sources — but proven security measures and a little common sense can negate all such threats.
The first reports of the cyberattacks that prompted Google to threaten withdrawal from China were alarming indeed. So was Microsoft’s first official response, in MS security bulletin 979352, which described the scope of the newly discovered IE vulnerability.
The flaw permits remote code execution by what Microsoft describes as a “specially crafted attack” that affects most versions of Internet Explorer:
- IE 6 SP1 on Windows 2000 SP4
- IE 6, 7, and 8 on Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2003, and Windows Server 2008 and Server 2008 R2