Microsoft confirms Internet Explorer flaw being used in "targeted" attacks

The vulnerability affects IE 6 to 11 and can be used to make limited, targeted attacks

Internet Explorer logo

Microsoft has confirmed the existence of a vulnerability in versions 6 through to 11 of its Internet Explorer browser.

The vulnerability has been used to carry out "limited, targeted attacks", the software giant confirmed, and could allow remote code execution.

Microsoft said in a blog post the vulnerability allows Internet Explorer to access an object in memory that has been deleted or improperly allocated.

"The vulnerability may corrupt memory in a way that could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user within Internet Explorer. An attacker could host a specially crafted website that is designed to exploit this vulnerability through Internet Explorer and then convince a user to view the website," it said.

However, the vulnerability is not as severe in IE on Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2 because they run IE in Enhanced Security Configuration.

The threat is also reduced when an HTML email is opened in Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Outlook Express or  Windows Mail because they too use the restricted environment.

If a hacker was able to take over the rights of a user account, they will only be able to carry out any additional tasks the user is allowed to do. Therefore, if the user has restricted administrator rights, the hacker would not be able to do as much damage as those with full access.

Microsoft said it is working with its partners to find a solution that may be rolled out via its monthly security update release process, or as an out-of-cycle security update, depending on the severity of the situation.

In January, Microsoft issued an out-of-cycle security fix to versions 6, 7 and 8 of Internet Explorer after a similar vulnerability was discovered.

Featured Resources

Defeating ransomware with unified security from WatchGuard

How SMBs can defend against the onslaught of ransomware attacks

Free download

The IT expert’s guide to AI and content management

How artificial intelligence and machine learning could be critical to your business

Free download

The path to CX excellence

Four stages to thrive in the experience economy

Free download

Becoming an experience-based business

Your blueprint for a strong digital foundation

Free download

Most Popular

What are the pros and cons of AI?
machine learning

What are the pros and cons of AI?

8 Sep 2021
Apple patches zero-day flaw abused by infamous NSO exploit
exploits

Apple patches zero-day flaw abused by infamous NSO exploit

14 Sep 2021
Hackers develop Linux port of Cobalt Strike for new attacks
Security

Hackers develop Linux port of Cobalt Strike for new attacks

14 Sep 2021