Based upon our investigations, we have determined that Internet Explorer was one of the vectors used in targeted and sophisticated attacks against Google and possibly other corporate networks. Today, Microsoft issued guidance to help customers mitigate a Remote Code Execution (RCE) vulnerability in Internet Explorer. Additionally, we are cooperating with Google and other companies, as well as authorities and other industry partners.
Microsoft remains committed to taking the appropriate action to help protect our customers. We released Security Advisory 979352 to provide customers with actionable guidance and tools to help with protections against exploit of this vulnerability. Microsoft has not seen widespread customer impact, rather only targeted and limited attacks exploiting IE 6 at this time. Our teams are currently working to develop an update and we will take appropriate action to protect customers when the update has met the quality bar for broad distribution. That may include releasing the update out of band.
It is important to note that complex attacks targeting specific corporate networks are becoming more prevalent in the threat landscape, therefore organizations should follow defense-in-depth best practices, and deploy multiple layers of protection to improve their security posture. In addition, Protected Mode in IE 7 on Windows Vista and later significantly reduces the ability of an attacker to impact data on a user’s machine. Customers should also enable Data Execution Prevention (DEP) which helps mitigate online attacks. DEP is enabled by default in IE 8 but must be manually enabled in prior versions.
Customers can also set Internet and Local intranet security zone settings to “High” to prompt before running ActiveX Controls and Active Scripting in these zones or configure Internet Explorer to prompt before running Active Scripting or to disable Active Scripting in the Internet and Local intranet security zone. You can find details on implementing these settings in the advisory.
Anyone believed to have been affected can visit: http://www.microsoft.com/protect/support/default.mspx and should contact the national law enforcement agency in their country. Those in the United States can contact Customer Service and Support at no charge using the PC Safety hotline at 1-866-727-2338 (PCSAFETY). Additionally, customers in the United States should contact their local FBI office or report their situation at: www.ic3.gov. Customers should follow the guidance in the advisory and our Protect Your PC guidance of enabling a firewall, getting software updates, and installing antivirus software (learn more by visiting the Protect Your PC web site). International customers can find their Regional Customer Service Representative http://support.microsoft.com/common/international.aspx.
We are also working with our Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP), the Microsoft Security Response Alliance (MSRA), authorities and other industry partners to help provide broader protections for customers. Together with our partners, we will continue to monitor the threat landscape and will take action against any web sites that seek to exploit this vulnerability.
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*This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights.*