Microsoft Internet Explorer versions 6.0 SP1 and prior, 7.0, and 8.0 contain a vulnerability that could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to execute arbitrary code.
The vulnerability is due to unsafe memory operations performed during the processing of malformed web pages. An unauthenticated, remote attacker could exploit the vulnerability by convincing a user to view a malicious website. If successful, the attacker could execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the user.
Microsoft has confirmed this vulnerability and released software updates.
Indicators of Compromise
Microsoft Internet Explorer versions 6.0 SP1 and prior, 7.0, and 8.0 are vulnerable when running on the following systems:
Windows 2000 SP4 and prior
Windows 7 for 32-bit systems
Windows 7 for x64-based systems
Windows XP SP3 and prior
Windows XP Professional x64 Edition SP2 and prior
Windows Server 2003 SP2 and prior
Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition SP2 and prior
Windows Server 2003 for Itanium-based Systems SP2 and prior
Windows Vista SP2 and prior
Windows Vista x64 Edition SP2 and prior
Windows Server 2008 for 32-bit Systems SP2 and prior
Windows Server 2008 for x64-based Systems SP2 and prior
Windows Server 2008 R2 for x64-based Systems
Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-based Systems
This vulnerability is due to a use-after-free memory error during the processing of malformed web content by Internet Explorer. The processing of a malicious website could cause Internet Explorer to access an uninitialized or previously deleted memory object, resulting in memory corruption.
An unauthenticated, remote attacker could exploit the vulnerability by convincing the user to view a malicious website. If successful, the attacker could trigger memory corruption that could allow the attacker to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the user.
An attacker cannot directly exploit the vulnerability and must rely on user interaction to accomplish an exploit. The attacker must convince a user to view a malicious website. The attacker is likely to provide links to the malicious website in e-mail or instant messages delivered to the user, using social engineering techniques to convince the user to follow the link.
Systems that restrict user privileges may be less impacted in the event of an exploit because any code execution would run in a limited security context.
Microsoft has corrected this vulnerability by ensuring that Internet Explorer handles memory safely.
Administrators are advised to apply the appropriate updates.
Administrators may consider configuring Internet Explorer to prompt users before running Active Scripting or ActiveX controls by setting the Internet and Local Intranet security zone settings to High. Alternately, administrators could disable Active Scripting and ActiveX controls in these security zones.
Users are advised to run applications with the least necessary privileges.
Users should verify that unsolicited links are safe to follow.
Users are advised not to visit websites or follow links that have suspicious characteristics or cannot be verified as safe.
Microsoft has released a security bulletin at the following link: MS10-018
Microsoft customers can obtain updates directly by using the links in the security bulletin. These updates are also distributed by Windows automatic update features and available on the Windows Update website. Microsoft Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Systems Management Server, and System Center Configuration Manager can assist administrators in deploying software updates.
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Cisco Multivendor Vulnerability Alerts respond to vulnerabilities identified in third-party vendors' products. These alerts contain information compiled from diverse sources and provide comprehensive technical descriptions, objective analytical assessments, workarounds and practical safeguards, and links to vendor advisories and patches.