Microsoft IE Zero-Day Flaw Exposure Widens

By Sean Michael Kerner  |  Posted 2013-10-02 Print this article Print

Tyler Reguly, technical manager of security research and development for security vendor Tripwire, told eWEEK that there are two sides to releasing an exploit.

"It puts the exploit in the hands of malicious users, but it also allows pen testers to audit enterprises to discover systems and users that may not have switched from IE to another browser," Reguly said.


Reguly noted that he had originally expected an out-of-band patch for the CVE-2013-3893 issue. Microsoft issues regular updates on the second Tuesday of every month. The next Patch Tuesday is set for Oct. 8, and as such Reguly does not expect Microsoft to put out an emergency patch before then.

Darien Kindlund, manager of threat intelligence for FireEye, told eWEEK that patching this issue is nontrivial.  

"The exploit affects all major versions of IE; therefore, Microsoft may require additional time to construct a proper patch covering all of these versions," he said.

Consumers have used the Fix It tool, and it seems to work for them, Kindlund noted.

"Enterprises have not adopted the tool for widespread use, largely because it is not as maintainable as a formal hotfix," Kindlund said.

With a formal hotfix patch, existing enterprise patch management systems can be used to deploy and manage system patching.

Rather than the Fix It, Kindlund suggests that enterprises deploy and use the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET). EMET is a free tool for Windows users that provides security risk mitigation capabilities. According to Kindlund, EMET correctly addresses and mitigates not only this recent exploit, but previous zero-days as well.

"To be honest, we are surprised that Microsoft has not made EMET mandatory on their Windows platform, as it is a tool that is available now which would have prevented this widespread compromise, to begin with, he said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.


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