Holiday Attacks Target IE Browser, PHP Servers
Source: - Posted by Vincenzo Ciaglia   
Hacks/Cracks Malware authors on Christmas day left dubious "gift" packages in e-mailboxes across the Internet. Fresh attacks, which took advantage of old Internet Explorer bugs, as well as new versions of the Santy worm fouled the holidays for some Windows users and PHP server admins. A posting on the Full Disclosure mailing list described a new attack that can proceed without user intervention. Called "Microsoft Internet Explorer Full Remote Compromise w/o User Intervention," the exploit is based on old vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer in Windows XP SP2 (Service Pack 2).

The provided analysis of the attack mentions two targets in SP2: the Help ActiveX control related topics zone security bypass vulnerability and the Help ActiveX control related topics cross site scripting vulnerability.

The attack is described in detail and results in an arbitrary file being placed in the user's startup folder where it will be when the user restarts the system. According to the analysis, the attack does not lend itself to inclusion in a worm, but could be effectively used by spyware or adware to compromise a system.

According to the post, the exploit was released by Michael Evanchik and Paul from Greyhats Security, to spur Microsoft Corp. to secure Windows and the Internet Explorer browser more quickly. The message from Paul, suggested Windows users switch to the Mozilla project's FireFox browser to improve security.

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