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Attacks Against Unpatched Microsoft Bug Multiply

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the how-not-to-excel dept.

Security 122

CWmike writes "Attacks exploiting the latest Microsoft vulnerability are quickly ramping up in quantity and intensity, several security companies warned today as they rang alarms about the developing threat. Symantec, Sunbelt Software, and SANS' Internet Storm Center bumped up their warnings yesterday after Microsoft announced that attackers were exploiting a bug in an ActiveX control used by IE to display Excel spreadsheets. There is no patch for the vulnerability; Microsoft didn't release one in today's Patch Tuesday. A temporary fix that sets the 'kill bits' of the ActiveX control is available, but experts believe it's likely most users won't take advantage of the protection. Symantec raised its ThreatCon ranking to the second of four steps. "We're seeing it exploited, but currently on a limited scale," said Symantec's Ben Greenbaum. Sunbelt also bumped up its ranking, to high." Firefox users can't be too complacent; Secunia is warning of a 0-day in version 3.5.

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your mom (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28697685)

wait 'til your dad hears I zero day exploited your mom!

Re:your mom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28699487)

My parents are divorced, you insensitive clod!

Re:your mom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28700385)

Sounds like the exploit was successful, you dullard!

server side scanning (5, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 5 years ago | (#28697745)

Why dont web hosts scan for hosted vulnerabilities? I imagine a nightly clamav scan by web hosts would make all the difference in cases like these where there is no patch yet but there is an web-based exploit. Heck, some users dont even patch, as was shown by Conficker, which was patched in October and spread like wildfire in January.

Re:server side scanning (4, Informative)

koreaman (835838) | more than 5 years ago | (#28697969)

You have a good point, but are you sure web sites are actually legally entitled to inspect what people are paying them to put on their servers?

If so, probably just a case of lazy and/or clueless administrators.

Re:server side scanning (3, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#28699007)

Why wouldn't you be able to? Unless you signed some agreement otherwise, or are trying for common carrier status, there's no reason you can't. There's no law against not allowing unwanted advertising to appear on your property. If a Christian site didn't want porn ads, they are not required to carry them because they carry other ads.

Re:server side scanning (4, Insightful)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 5 years ago | (#28700101)

You have a good point, but are you sure web sites are actually legally entitled to inspect what people are paying them to put on their servers?

If you read the small print in the ToS you'll see they entitle themselves to doing anything they could imagine. Even if it was not in the ToS, adding it in there is trivial.

The reason they don't do it is one of pure economy. Integrating and running antivirus programs daily on a server is not free. It slows down the server (so they can pack less sites per server), it means license/support contracts (even if the basic software is free), means the staff spending time on integrating and supporting this feature.

At the same time, browser exploits are simply small static files that don't affect or abuse the server in question in any significant way. If they scan, it would be just to protect the site visitors, which are not a party that matters to web host providers. So, unless site owners decide they would rather take their business with a host who scans, the hosts have no interest to implement this.

Re:server side scanning (3, Insightful)

EvilIdler (21087) | more than 5 years ago | (#28701325)

How are web hosts going to handle dangerous files they find, if they start searching the users' stuff? That upload of the latest Conficker might not be malicious (user rents serverspace to host virus/trojan/worm research), the upload might be referenced in a database by the CMS (whoops, it's gone - does the user know how to fix the now-apparent bug in the CMS' filehandling?).

How does a virus scanner even know if the file is visible to the outside world? You have .htaccess files, scripts which may or may not display the files in an index (and it doesn't have to be anywhere near the same directory) and non-Apache/IIS systems which serve up content based on Python, Java or whatever.

Lots of issues with automated scanning/removal before you even start to consider the processing power to scan. Although that could be handled by having a reasonably beefy cluster of pure file servers which the web servers get their user directories from.

Re:server side scanning (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 5 years ago | (#28702743)

That's not what he meant. He was referring to web administrators implementing server-side scanning to prevent patches from being *spread* to the users.

Re:server side scanning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28698033)

Why don't web sites stop intentionally hosted vulnerabilities? I imagine web hosts not run by scumbags would make all the difference in cases like theres where there is no patch yet but there is a web-based exploit.

Re:server side scanning (2, Interesting)

WheelDweller (108946) | more than 5 years ago | (#28698667)

Hey, sure. We flush-n-fill workstations, planet wide in corporate offices. Ya know, maybe we could make friends with aliens and have THEM also scan our computers.

OR WE COULD JUST USE SOMETHING LESS FRAGILE.

Look at the risk; we're always hearing of people losing thousands of dollars, spending most of a decade trying to get it back. TWO MILLION active viruses and another 100,000 every month for the last decade.

Where else do you go buy a product, and then *immediately* buy someone else's product to ensure it makes it through the day? Did you ever buy that thing again?

Yeah, all computers have expolits. Only one manufacturer is installing an express lane.

And no, when Linux machines get larger, they probably won't have viruses, because the people who program it won't abide their existence to sell support contracts.

And it won't take more installed systems- there have been more Linux machines than Macs for like, five years now. (Reported here, iirc)

It can't get much simpler; it can't get much stronger. Why on Earth would anyone presume it faulty, just because it's not identical?

Wake up, people! How many stories like this do we have to read?!?!?!!

Re:server side scanning (3, Informative)

Cstryon (793006) | more than 5 years ago | (#28699809)

I agree that if there is a company that always has faulty products, that people would stop buying products from them. But nobody has stopped using windows (In this case the problem is IE, activex yada yada) because it generally works in most cases, for what people want it for.

I used to do tech support in a call center. The company I worked for made networking hardware, so the internet service that packaged our products the most, hired us to also do tech support for the customers with our products. Literally, my boss, his boss, as far up the chain at this company I could see, were a bunch of geeks ( we used to have prizes for good performances, that included the WoW expansion). What did they all use? What was working for our customers when it came to our products? What did our quality control guys, and the guys who lay out the plans for these products test them on? Windows.
Some of our Networking hardware would work on linux, Sometimes we would write drivers for linux, but when I would go and speak to the guys that had to write the software, they hated the linux part. (Of cause the major bullet point here is that not everyone believes Linux to be as practical as you do.)

So it's a double edged sword, if linux becomes popular, that would be cool! But once it becomes popular, any vulnerability, will be exploited.

Re:server side scanning (1, Flamebait)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28700903)

I probably shouldn't feed the troll, and I'll probably get flamed, but what the hell I'm bored. You wanna know why Linux can be more secure than Fort Knox and nobody wants it? Do you really want to know? It is actually very simple-It is because Linux is a GIANT PITA and its UI SUCKS! That's why!

It doesn't matter how damned good your Linux security is if only geeks can use the damned thing. After all, I can lock a Windows box in a safe and bury it and it'll be safe too, it will be about as usable to home users as Linux is. I'm not trying to flame here, I personally hope someone will come along and do for Linux what Steve Jobs did with BSD, I just ain't seen it yet. example-I had someone here the other day actually seriously arguing that Sudo equaled "Runas" because Sudo 'lets you do things the GUI designers never thought of". Now honestly how many home users have sat there and thought "You know, i just need more power than these GUI designers gave me" Answer-NEVER!

It is really not that hard Linux guys, just repeat after me- Home users will NEVER EVER use CLI! Got that? It bears repeating so I will- Home users will NEVER EVER use CLI! in the fifteen years I've been working on Windows boxes I can count the # of times I have had to go CLI on one hands with fingers left over. When was the last time you opened Bash? probably this week if not this very day. Problem in Windows? GUI solution. Mac? GUI solution. Linux? "Open up bash and type" which you should follow with "you know what, get someone to put Windows on your machine because this OS sucks" because that is exactly what the home users are thinking!

The reason MSFT knows own the Netbook market, with a decade old OS to your brand new Linux, isn't some plot and the sooner you accept it the better. It is because the GUI in 10 year old XP works better than the 2009 GUI in Linux. Why? Because the groups paying the big bucks for development, like Oracle and Red Hat only care about SERVERS, and servers are faster and easier to manage from CLI. Server guys like CLI, Geeks like CLI, Home users hate it with a passion, okay? Is that really so hard? I don't care if you think Bash is the second coming, until the Linux community accepts the fact that CLI MUST DIE, don't be surprised when people would rather deal with malware than your OS. i'm sorry, that is just the way things are.

Re:server side scanning (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28701467)

"I'm not trying to flame" {--- Fuck off... that's exactly what you mean to do as do I. You're "bored" because you're stupid. I don't keep my mind idle for long enough to get bored.

You don't know a damned thing about it if you think the user interfaces suck compared to Windows... single desktop, icon boy.

I HATE the Explorer GUI and Windows XP runs my netbook like shit. I had to replace it with something useful.

"Home users" (as in non technical ones) don't need to use the command line in a Linux distro these days either. I'm sitting here pointing and clicking and flying around virtual desktops right now. It's not like they are going to be building Linux From Scratch. No, they are going to be using a spoon fed Ronald McDonald style distribution where everything is at their finger tips and the software repositories are like having all their birthdays at once.

Also, if you don't make use of the command line in Windows for some tasks, that's your problem. Fuck you... it's much easier to do mass deletions of files using wild cards and remove directory trees from the command prompt. It's faster to create directories and move files instead of wasting time right clicking and waiting for 10 seconds for context menus to appear on crippled Windows computers. I actually work on Windows systems for money you dope, and I clean malware every day. I fix the systems, not format them and the command prompt is essential.

While I'll admit that I can't do this for everyone, not one person that I've converted to Linux distros has missed the Windows "experience". I set things up for them and their computer stays working. Imagine that... it's practically the last time I get money from them. The rest is just answering the odd question.

No, I'm afraid that you're wrong (surprise!). It's the momentum of Windows (everyone else uses it and your friends and family will disown you if you switch to something they don't know) and Microsoft's tactics that keep the ball rolling.

Re:server side scanning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28701479)

I probably shouldn't feed the troll, ..says the bigger troll with a side of flamebait.

Re:server side scanning (1)

marsu_k (701360) | more than 5 years ago | (#28701497)

The reason MSFT knows own the Netbook market, with a decade old OS to your brand new Linux, isn't some plot and the sooner you accept it the better. It is because the GUI in 10 year old XP works better than the 2009 GUI in Linux.

To each his own I guess, this netbook came with XP preinstalled and I quickly replaced it with Eeebuntu; XP isn't really suited for small displays in my opinion. And the performance is much better, wifi was somehow really unstable under XP. And no, up to this point (and I recon I have done much more with this puter than the average user ever will) I've never done anything that couldn't have been done via the GUI; however CLI is much more convenient if you know how to use it. Actually an usable shell is one of the major things missing from XP.

Re:server side scanning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28698757)

ClamAV has the worst detection rates of any of the available antivirus programs, whether free or pay. It certainly won't detect a 0-day vulnerability.

Re:server side scanning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28699465)

Well, shouldn't we expect M$ to produce reliable and safe software to start with?
Looks like M$ is making a very good case for the whole world to move to OpenOffice....

Re:server side scanning (1)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28700421)

Why dont web hosts scan for hosted vulnerabilities? I imagine a nightly clamav scan by web hosts would make all the difference in cases like these where there is no patch yet but there is an web-based exploit. Heck, some users dont even patch, as was shown by Conficker, which was patched in October and spread like wildfire in January.

Perhaps they realize that doing so would be damage control, not security? That's if you're using a malware scanner like clamav.

If they were to scan with something, there are more useful ways. They could scan their hosted systems with something like nessus. That would stand a chance of finding vulnerabilities and identifying what is exploitable so that they may be fixed. That actually would improve security, which is mostly prevention. Then there would be fewer opportunities for malware to infect the machines in the first place.

Firefox 3.5? (4, Funny)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28697759)

Firefox users can't be too complacent; Secunia is warning of a 0-day in version 3.5.

Well, I guess I'm safe. At my workplace, my Redhat 9 installation is incapable of running any version newer than Firefox 2.0.0.20.

Re:Firefox 3.5? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28697989)

"Firefox users can't be too complacent;"

Complacency is the mother of mothers.......

Re:Firefox 3.5? (2, Insightful)

butalearner (1235200) | more than 5 years ago | (#28698239)

Firefox users can't be too complacent; Secunia is warning of a 0-day in version 3.5.

Well, I guess I'm safe. At my workplace, my Redhat 9 installation is incapable of running any version newer than Firefox 2.0.0.20.

That, and the fact that there are no exploits for the Firefox vulnerability in the wild. The two pieces of news are hardly comparable. Seriously, this is like reporting a string of car thefts exploiting a defect in Ford's keyless entry systems and ending the story by reminding Chevy drivers that their vehicles can be broken into with a sledgehammer.

Re:Firefox 3.5? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28698607)

That, and the fact that there are no exploits for the Firefox vulnerability in the wild. The two pieces of news are hardly comparable. Seriously, this is like reporting a string of car thefts exploiting a defect in Ford's keyless entry systems and ending the story by reminding Chevy drivers that their vehicles can be broken into with a sledgehammer.

False analogy. Better analogy:

    It's like reporting a string of car thefts exploiting a defect in Ford's keyless entry systems and ending the story by reminding Chevy drivers that their keyless entry sytem is also flawed but luckily since fewer people drive Chevy's (and Ford drivers are usually foolish enough to park their car in front of a big warehouse with a sign that says "Not a chop shop") no one's bothered to learn how to break in to a Chevy yet.

Re:Firefox 3.5? (2, Funny)

Cstryon (793006) | more than 5 years ago | (#28699831)

It's the same as the cool kid in highschool. Popularity also means more people will hate him, or exploit his keyless entry, or the bug in his active x controllers.

Re:Firefox 3.5? (1)

Mozk (844858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28701301)

Popularity also means more people will hate him, or exploit his keyless entry, or the bug in his active x controllers.

But what is he uses passive x controllers?

Re:Firefox 3.5? (1)

Mozk (844858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28701309)

If, not is.

Re:Firefox 3.5? (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 5 years ago | (#28702187)

But what is he uses passive x controllers?

Easy: Then hax0rs will insert their active probes into his passive security hole, especially after he dropped his canned aire can in the computer cleaning facilities.

Re:Firefox 3.5? (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#28701407)

It's like reporting a string of car thefts exploiting a defect in Ford's keyless entry systems and ending the story by reminding Chevy drivers that their keyless entry sytem is also flawed but luckily since fewer people drive Chevy's (and Ford drivers are usually foolish enough to park their car in front of a big warehouse with a sign that says "Not a chop shop") no one's bothered to learn how to break in to a Chevy yet.

Yeah, except for that whole thing being an unsubstantiated claim that was first promoted by the news anchors, of all people, on the Microsoft-owned MSNBC channel.

Re:Firefox 3.5? (4, Insightful)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 5 years ago | (#28698855)

Wrong. The details are public and exploits could be happening in the wild. How do you know they're not?

From http://voices.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2009/07/stopgap_fix_for_critical_firef.html [washingtonpost.com]

Instructions showing hackers how to exploit an unpatched, critical security hole in Mozilla's new Firefox 3.5 Web browser have been posted online.

Re:Firefox 3.5? (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 5 years ago | (#28699753)

Firefox users can't be too complacent; Secunia is warning of a 0-day in version 3.5.

Well, I guess I'm safe. At my workplace, my Redhat 9 installation is incapable of running any version newer than Firefox 2.0.0.20.

Redhat 9?? You're lucky...

[/mpython]

Re:Firefox 3.5? (1)

Vu1turEMaN (1270774) | more than 5 years ago | (#28700073)

You're in luck!

Seeing as how its related to the font html tag, I bet its backwards compatible a few versions!

Firefox 3.5 is turning into a disaster (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28697783)

remote exploitable security problems, very slow startup on windows [asp.net] , creating havoc with antiviruses, maxing out CPU problems

its a bad week for 3.5
3.11 is safe for now (ill take the mem leaks over exploits and a slow startup)

what happened ? did the Mozdev team rush it to satisfy the fanboys and bigger-version-number-must-be-better crowd ?

lets hope these problems get fixed ASAP because if cant recommend it to clients when they come back to me complaining with these problems (doesnt make us look good) whats left ?

A

Re:Firefox 3.5 is turning into a disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28697895)

Does 3.11 run on 3.11?

Shouldn't the next Firefox have been Firefox 95?

Ohh noes.... (1, Troll)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#28697797)

A vulnerability to opening an Excel sheet in IE? How many people do that on a regular basis? How many EVER do it? I dont think I can remember having ever tried to nor needing to. How is this newsworthy?

Re:Ohh noes.... (5, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28697843)

Apparently, a lot given that the attacks are becoming more intense and frequent.

My guess is that when Office installs, various ActiveX controls are linked into the OS and by extension, the web browser MSIE. But there are lots of places where this should never have happened.

1. ActiveX has been proven time and time again to be a very bad idea. It is not sandboxed. There is no way to keep it away from the rest of the OS.
2. The web browser's integration with the OS. Not only has it been ruled illegal by various nations antitrust courts, but any exploit of the browser also exploits the OS by extension.

Re:Ohh noes.... (1, Informative)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 5 years ago | (#28698379)

Without an unsandboxed version of the win32 api, which is what ActiveX is, they would be unable to deny the ability to use the internet to those without a recent version of windows and office.

Re:Ohh noes.... (5, Funny)

OverZealous.com (721745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28699215)

Without an unsandboxed version of the win32 api, which is what ActiveX is, they would be unable to deny the ability to use the internet to those without a recent version of windows and office.

My head didn't stay unexploded while I wasn't unreading this unstatement.

Re:Ohh noes.... (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 5 years ago | (#28701789)

That's unpossible!

Re:Ohh noes.... (2, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28702379)

It doesn't even parse correctly:

Without an unsandboxed version of the win32 api, which is what ActiveX is, they would be unable to deny the ability to use the internet to those without a recent version of windows and office.

With a sandboxed version of the win32 api, which is what ActiveX is, they would be able to allow the ability to deny the internet to those with a recent version of windows and office.

To paraphrase: "IE plugins from Office won't work without Win32 API running with increased privilages"

Took me a while to work it out, though.

Re:Ohh noes.... (2, Funny)

upuv (1201447) | more than 5 years ago | (#28701035)

I'm a little more militant in my opinion of ActiveX.

Dumbest idea EVER. Microsoft has tossed more money down this sinkhole of a technology trying to fill the hole. People, Companies and governments have tossed even more down the same hole fixing issues that directly arise from some ActiveX bug.

How much further along would Microsoft have been along if they had just passed over this DUMB marketing idea anyway. ( It had to come from marketing, it must have, really who else could be this dumb. )

What it's been a decade of disaster when it comes to ActiveX issues.

Guys it's a bad idea. It's lame, take it out back and shoot it. Just say out loud, "We are sorry, this will never be in another one of our products after this point."

However it has made a lot of my product buying decisions over the years a lot easier. I ask the sales nerd. "Does this product make use of ActiveX in any way? I mean even as an optional addon?". If I get the reply, "Yes", or "We are building ActiveX into the next version.". I simple end the meeting and escort them to the door and give them a complimentary donut. ( I'm getting a bit like that when the caffeinated hyper English sales guy screams, web2.0 AJAX twitter in my face when he's only talking about the product packaging. )

Back to ActiveX. Again I say, DUMBEST IDEA EVER!

Sorry I take that back. Sub-Prime Mortgages, that's the dumbest idea ever. We'll give you money at a loss, not really check your credit, and expect you to be able to repay at an insane rate in 3-5 years time. Now that's a DUMB idea.

Re:Ohh noes.... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28698015)

A vulnerability to opening an Excel sheet in IE? How many people do that on a regular basis? How many EVER do it? I dont think I can remember having ever tried to nor needing to. How is this newsworthy?

All it takes is a link to http://example.com/NUDE_PICS_CELEBNAME.xls [example.com]

Re:Ohh noes.... (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#28698955)

Hey, there were no nude pics there! I wanna see my dancing bunnies!

Re:Ohh noes.... (4, Informative)

sc0ob5 (836562) | more than 5 years ago | (#28698227)

You'd be surprised how many people do it. In fact so many people do it where I work that I put a reghack in the logon script to make it so that all XLS files are opened with excel and not IE.

"HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Excel.Sheet.8\BrowserFlags",00000008,"REG_DWORD"

I didn't put it in place for this vulnerability though, just because a lot of people use macros and don't know how to save as.

Re:Ohh noes.... (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#28698427)

wouldnt that be the patch that doesnt exist then?

Re:Ohh noes.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28698605)

That's great (and makes it more functional) although your users shouldn't be running as admin like they have to be in order for that to work in a logon script (bad security idea giving everyone admin).
 
Anyway, that isn't the same thing as the Office Web Components which is the ActiveX control with the vulnerability. That browserflag setting will absolutely NOT protect folks from the vulnerability if they have the Office Web Components installed.

Re:Ohh noes.... (3, Informative)

sc0ob5 (836562) | more than 5 years ago | (#28698753)

My users don't have admin rights, elevated privileges via the logon script.

You are totally correct in saying that Office Web components won't be affected, I was just replying to the previous poster. Still anyone worth their weight as an admin wouldn't install Office Web components on anything.

Re:Ohh noes.... (1)

xanadu-xtroot.com (450073) | more than 5 years ago | (#28699227)

anyone worth their weight as an admin wouldn't install Office Web components on anything.

Unless the PHBs think that it's Super Cool to embed Excel Sheets and .PPTs in SharePoint's webpages...

Re:Ohh noes.... (2, Interesting)

upuv (1201447) | more than 5 years ago | (#28701097)

When some one sends me the "Oh please check out my super duper cool Share point embedded Office power point blah blah blah" very important link. I respond.

Sorry Doesn't load on my iPhone.

( I don't really own an iPhone. But iPhone makes them go "Oh crap, iPhones are cooler than this. I'd better re-do it so iPhone's can view it. )

After that it tends to be de-Microsoft'd enough for me to feel comfortable opening the link.

Re:Ohh noes.... (1)

Vu1turEMaN (1270774) | more than 5 years ago | (#28700091)

Eh, they don't even need elevated privledges :)

Re:Ohh noes.... (1)

sc0ob5 (836562) | more than 5 years ago | (#28700895)

I thought they had to at least be power user.. may be mistaken, haven't looked at it in years.

Re:Ohh noes.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28699997)

A vulnerability to opening an Excel sheet in IE? How many people do that on a regular basis? How many EVER do it? I dont think I can remember having ever tried to nor needing to. How is this newsworthy?

I saw a user do it the other day. He had to close it out so we could open the file in Excel as was anticipated. It came as a shock to myself (I don't recall the behavior from back in my Excel 97/IE2-6 days). Now my ".xls" files on the web open in OpenOffice Spreadsheet. It is just stupid MSFT doing stuff and integrating shit without a care in the world.

Re:Ohh noes.... (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 5 years ago | (#28700453)

A vulnerability to opening an Excel sheet in IE? How many people do that on a regular basis? How many EVER do it? I dont think I can remember having ever tried to nor needing to. How is this newsworthy?

I think you missunderstand how this works. Hackers can craft a special page which calls the control, which means anyone with Office installed on their system is vulnerable.

Also as an AC pointed out, it's not really in "Excel", its in "Office Web Components" which are mini-applications specifically designed to be included in (intranet) web pages.

Re:Ohh noes.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28701549)

A vulnerability to opening an Excel sheet in IE? How many people do that on a regular basis? How many EVER do it? I dont think I can remember having ever tried to nor needing to. How is this newsworthy?

You've missed the point. Just because people don't do this normally/at all doesn't mean they can't be tricked into doing it easily in this case. Any link you click on can present itself (as far as most people who don't inspect the destination is concerned) as anything it wants. You could click on the dancing monkey or whatever and have it trigger the opening of a spreadsheet with this exploit in it. All you need is to have excel installed.

Microsoft is crap (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28697815)

Mod me up, cause I talked bad about Microsoft. It's the Slashdot way and you must stick with the Slashdot norms otherwise you'll look like a complete asshole.

Re:Microsoft is crap (2, Funny)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#28699031)

You type really well for throwing chairs at the keyboard, Steve

It's about time... (2, Funny)

whowantscream (911883) | more than 5 years ago | (#28697841)

Someone finally found a hole in a Microsoft application using a Microsoft framework opening a Microsoft application!

Re:It's about time... (2, Funny)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#28701335)

Yo dawg, I heard you liked ActiveX, so I put some Excel in your Excel so you could get exploited while you were getting exploited.

kill bits (5, Informative)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28697849)

A temporary fix that sets the 'kill bits' of the ActiveX control is available, but experts believe it's likely most users won't take advantage of the protection.

Well, Computer World (and CWmike in particular), perhaps more users would take advantage of the protection if you would provide them a link telling them how when you first mention it [microsoft.com] rather than wait until the end of the article where they may not associate it as being the aforementioned solution.

Re:kill bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28698163)

The workaround was released as a security update

Re:kill bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28698367)

Actually the workaround is released as a security update [microsoft.com] , and pushed via windows update

My solution for ActiveX (no, not installing Linux) (5, Informative)

istartedi (132515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28697899)

I use the IE security settings. Yes. It works. The only real problem with it, is that they are a bit convoluted for ActiveX. I had to slow down and think before I got what I wanted, which is essentially to have any web site that wants to run ActiveX prompt me, and then I can choose to accept (but virtually never do).

Notice to web developers: If your site requires ActiveX, and it's not an absolutely essential service from a company that I can yell at, I will go someplace else. IIRC, I have one online financial service that fits that category.

Otherwise, I DON'T NEED ACTIVEX. NOBODY REALLY DOES. ANYTHING WORTH DOING CAN BE DONE WITHOUT IT.

And yes, that's shouting. It needs to be shouted loud enough for these people to hear it. It needs to be shouted again, and again. ActiveX belongs with IE6. Actually, it should have been killed off many revs before that. It should have been shot down by somebody who countered the suggestion at the very first meeting where it was discussed. Maybe somebody had the flu that day.

Hear Hear, and let me add.... (3, Interesting)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 5 years ago | (#28698153)

Hear hear on your ActiveX rant, and let me add "What you have said about ActiveX also applies to Javascript."

I see too many sites that will have almost every link be of the form <a href="#" onclick="follow_link(some_damn_link.html)"> - in other words the only way to follow the link is to use Javascript. This is just sloppy and stupid-lazy - such pages are usually machine generated, and there is NO REASON why the tool couldn't have filled in an appropriate href.

Yes, there are good uses for Javascript - but do we really want to be allowing J. Random Website to run code in a Turing-complete[*] language on every potential page load? I don't - and that is why I have NoScript installed, and no web site gets to run Javascript by default on MY browser - and since the Securina exploit against Firefox is Javascript based, that reduces (but does not eliminate) my exposure.

([*] - Javascript is as Turing complete as C/C++/Java or whatnot - the only thing that makes it NOT truly Turing-complete is the absence of infinite storage, just like C/C++/Java or whatnot).

Re:Hear Hear, and let me add.... (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 5 years ago | (#28702525)

I have been wrestling with that myself. Some of the reason sites do that is essentially URL rewriting, where they have a name for the page but then depending on your current context they might take you to a different directory or something. Most aren't, but some of the examples I see are actually very clever time-saving devices, viewed from the programmer's perspective. Could you put the same logic in the back-end? Sure. In fact it would be far more secure and protect your IP. And wouldn't be copyable. But it does separate the logic, which is more maintainable.

Of course, some just do a redirect to the full relative URL, and that is inexcusable. I do surf with NoScript, and if I can't see your products I'll just move to a competitor's site. I used to mail websites and tell them what I was doing, but it did no good. So now there's a million websites out there I don't buy from and no one knows why.

Re:My solution for ActiveX (no, not installing Lin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28698903)

For all intents and purposes "intensive purposes" is a silly phrase.

Re:My solution for ActiveX (no, not installing Lin (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 5 years ago | (#28701053)

Shout louder!

I see at the top of this page:

"Your security settings do not allow Web sites to use ActiveX controls installed on your computer. This page may not display correctly. Click here for options..."

Well smack my forehead.

(no, this is not my PC, behave yourself)

Only 9 posts? (5, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28697933)

Apparently everyone using IE or FF 3.5 is waiting for updates before posting.

Active X again? (3, Funny)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#28697943)

With the number of ActiveX related security issues you would have thought they would simply drop it or at least sandbox it?

Re:Active X again? (4, Insightful)

mkavanagh2 (776662) | more than 5 years ago | (#28698039)

I believe Microsoft thinks ActiveX is sandboxing.

Re:Active X again? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#28699047)

My cat sandboxed it.

Re:Active X again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28700581)

My cat sandboxed it.

Yeah, and he's a pussy.

They have (5, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28698127)

If you go read the notice, you find out that Vista and Server 2008 aren't affected. Reason is that IE has a sandbox mode on those OSes (Windows 7 too) for things like that. However, it relies on changes to the OS so it hasn't been backported to XP and I don't know that it could be easily.

So yes, they have sandboxed ActiveX, but it applies to newer versions of Windows only.

Re:They have (1)

BasharTeg (71923) | more than 5 years ago | (#28698567)

Funny thing is, the Firefox 3.5 exploit doesn't work on Vista either according to our testing. Only works on Windows 2000 and XP. Good thing everyone's bashing Vista like it has no features of value and as if it's still broken like pre-SP1 when SP2 is out.

So your average Microsoft-hating fanboi who is running Firefox 3.5 because IE8 isn't cool enough, and who is running Vista because XP is "way better", is the one who is vulnerable to this Firefox exploit.

Re:They have (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28698747)

Us ms-hating fanbois are running linux, and as such, aren't worried about it.

Re:They have (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28698989)

Vista and Linux are also vulnerable, the hole is just a lot easier to exploit in XP32 which is the way that malware writers will go until there are no XP machines left.

Re:They have (3, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#28699113)

Good thing everyone's bashing Vista like it has no features of value

      No, we bashed it because it didn't have features of $200+ value.

Re:Active X again? (4, Insightful)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 5 years ago | (#28698197)

Sandbox?

What ActiveX needs is a pine box

Re:Active X again? (0)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 5 years ago | (#28698617)

You are modded insightful, but if there was such a thing as "-1 ignorant" I would have certainly modded you rather than replying.

An ActiveX library is just a DLL. However, it is a DLL that can be indiscriminately loaded by scripts... even scripts on a web page no less (this IS being addressed in Windows > XP). What needs to happen is a whitelist of what scripts can use what libraries if you even want to go that far.

The solution, in my eyes, is to remove abilities to create ActiveX controls in remote scripts completely. This would solve just about every problem with them.

Re:Active X again? (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#28699049)

ActiveX is just a DLL, but the only reason it exists is TO CREATE CONTROLS IN REMOTE SCRIPTS. It just uses standard Windows widgets and such to do the actual work. You're the ignorant one... the GP was perfectly right. ActiveX is simply a security hole, period.

Re:Active X again? (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 5 years ago | (#28699761)

Whores only exist to lure married men from their wives, right? Kill 'em all, right? Just like ActiveX controls, whores have a purpose... not necessarily in line with their intended nature. What should we do with them?

Re:Active X again? (3, Informative)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28700723)

Whores only exist to lure married men from their wives, right? Kill 'em all, right? Just like ActiveX controls, whores have a purpose... not necessarily in line with their intended nature. What should we do with them?

I think I see the part you're missing that would explain to you why some (including me) think ActiveX is fundamentally flawed.

In terms of security, I think we can agree that the Internet including the Web is rightly regarded as a hostile network. We can also probably agree that good security is done in overlapping layers in order to minimize single points of failure. That's important for many reasons, not the least of which is that a glaring, single point of failure increases both the severity of exploits and the ease with which they may be carried out.

The problem with ActiveX is the lack of sandboxing. A control has the full privileges of the user running the browser. With XP machines that user tends to be an Administrator, compounding the problem. Trusting this environment to reliably and securely handle remote code on a hostile network is just begging for trouble. The idea is fundamentally flawed and tinkering with it may mitigate the problem but will not fix it. It needs to be abandoned and replaced.

Java is more suitable for this kind of task. That is, the needed sandboxing capabilities are an integral part of its design, which is not the case with the Windows DLL-type ActiveX controls. If you really want a Microsoft solution, Silverlight can run applications (both remotely and downloaded for local off-line use) and has its own sandbox. Even Flash apps are a better idea than ActiveX, which is saying something considering Flash's security history.

A solution with a good sandbox combined with running as an unprivileged user is a hell of an improvement. This means that an attacker who wants to own the machine has multiple hurdles. The more this is the case, the more difficult it is for an automated script to pull off a successful exploit. The fact that the malware is fully automated and can rapidly spread is part of why there are so many botnets and other problems. Think of it as something like a captcha: the more a successful exploit requires a determined human being, the fewer massive botnets there are. Fewer botnets mean less spam and fewer DDoS attacks and the like. Nowhere does the low-hanging fruit of ActiveX (and similarly flawed ideas) fit into that picture.

Re:Active X again? (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 5 years ago | (#28700497)

ActiveX is just a DLL, but the only reason it exists is TO CREATE CONTROLS IN REMOTE SCRIPTS. It just uses standard Windows widgets and such to do the actual work. You're the ignorant one... the GP was perfectly right. ActiveX is simply a security hole, period.

ActiveX certainly has some problems, but in these two cases (Excel and Media Player), we are talking about plugins that are specifically designed to be used in web browsers and other "remote scripts". If they were somehow using the Netscape/Firefox plugin API, its likely the same security holes would exist.

But I will give you credit for at least knowing what ActiveX is, which puts you ahead of 99% of the open source cavemen on this site who just grunt OGG SAY ACTIVEX BAD SECURITY and get score 5 for their pathetic peabrained insights.

Re: Microsoft Readies a Rival To Spotify (0, Offtopic)

dvh.tosomja (1235032) | more than 5 years ago | (#28697967)

Somehow, I cannot post comment to http://slashdot.org/story/09/07/14/2113256/Microsoft-Readies-a-Rival-To-Spotify?from=rss [slashdot.org] but it would be a shame to waste opportunity, so here it go:

> allows users to stream music for free in return for listening to around a minute's worth of advertisements every half hour

    while true; do mute; sleep 1m; mute; sleep 29m; done

Here, fixed that for ya

Full disclosure or what? (2, Insightful)

fedxone-v86 (1080801) | more than 5 years ago | (#28698179)

Why is Secunia (http://secunia.com/advisories/35798/2/) only featuring a link to the exploit of the ff3.5 0day but no link the Mozilla bugtracker?

Don't want to sound trollish but I don't really know how this whole security business works. So can anyone please explain why there is no bug report for the open source browser?

Re:Full disclosure or what? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28698549)

There is some chance that a bug simply hasn't been filed. Mozilla does keep security related bugs private (or so I understand it, I'm not in that club) until they consider them resolved (which often means releasing an update). Full disclosure generally refers to whoever found the bug telling the public about it, so no need for the "or what?", the bug has been disclosed.

More than multiplying, I'm afraid (3, Funny)

Curate (783077) | more than 5 years ago | (#28698451)

These attacks are exploiting a flaw in an ActiveX control for displaying Excel worksheets. Right now they are just multiplying. You just know that they will eventually start adding. What happens if they start subtracting? Let's not even mention dividing at this point. God help us all...

Firefox 3.5 0day fixed in nightlies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28698639)

I'm running the current nightly build of Shiretoko (Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.9.1.1pre) Gecko/20090714 Shiretoko/3.5.1pre) and this exploit is already fixed as far as I can tell. It does crash the stock Firefox 3.5.

I'd expect to see a patch for this out pretty quickly.

Windows itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28698895)

Is the un-patched bug. Just patch with new windows 10.5.2. Awesomely stable, very user friendly, not to mention secure as a rock.

I have a working patch. (0, Redundant)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 5 years ago | (#28698901)

I have a working patch for IE issues.

www.firefox.com

Re:I have a working patch. (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 5 years ago | (#28699771)

Oh come on, that was funny.

Since when did bashing MS become flamebait, usually the mods reserve that for me bashing Apple.

Re:I have a working patch. (1)

TrancePhreak (576593) | more than 5 years ago | (#28700493)

RTFsummary.

Exploit (FX3.5) (3, Informative)

t0y (700664) | more than 5 years ago | (#28699181)

Here [milw0rm.com] 's the exploit code for firefox.
Apparently, it should crash and open up calc.exe. On my machine (win7 RC1) it crashes bringing up the error report thingy.
No calc.exe for me. :(

Does this mean I'm "safe"?

Re:Exploit (FX3.5) (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 5 years ago | (#28700257)

Nope, doesn't work: Firefox 3.5 Vulnerability Firefox 3.5 Heap Spray Vulnerabilty Author: SBerry aka Simon Berry-Byrne Thanks to HD Moore for the insight and Metasploit for the payload

I'm using Chrome! (1)

vrmlguy (120854) | more than 5 years ago | (#28699567)

Ha-ha, suckers!

Posted using telnet to port 80 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28699683)

because im scared my interwebrowser will get exploited. ... i would have had first post too, if it wasn't for all this pesky web2.0 ajax crap.

What's IE again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28700661)

I mean, really... How does this affect me?

"You keep using that word (security). I do not think it means what you think it means."

and the MS Plugins? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28700923)

I recently disabled a couple of MS office plugins that had mysteriously registered themselves with firefox. I'd already disabled the MS .NET addon and removed the UA string using about:config. While Microsoft are not the only offender, these plugins were not required and increase the security exposure footprint of Mozilla's browser. It's not acceptable that such things should be installed without explicit user consent. Being aware of the heap spray vuln in firefox, I disabled the JIT until Mozilla can release a patch. I'm not usually aware of vulnerabilities in 3rd party plugins that I had no idea were installed.

Re:and the MS Plugins? (1)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 5 years ago | (#28701239)

Firefox's default behaviour is to tell you when new plugins have been installed, so it should be very hard not to be aware of them.

Not excusing the behaviour, just pointing out a convenient feature that helps mitigate unfriendly auto-installs.

built in VM within browser (1)

kai6novice (1093633) | more than 5 years ago | (#28702529)

There's all kind of problem in browsers. I think the only safe way to browse the web is to create a virtual machine, then run the browser within the virtual machine, so if anything bad happens, just replace the virtual machine, then you're good again. Why can't someone think of a way to built a tiny virtual machine within browser, The virtual machine should only apply functionality that a browser ever needed. Then if anything bad happens, just roll back to the original backup of the virtual machine. It's a like a browser contains a virtual machine that run the browser which contains it.
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