Microsoft Vulnerability Targeted in New Drive-by Attack

Hackers are launching attacks against an unpatched vulnerability in the Microsoft Video ActiveX Control that could allow an attacker to take full control over the system. When using Internet Explorer, code execution is remote and requires no user interaction, Microsoft says.

Microsoft is investigating attacks targeting a vulnerability in Microsoft Video ActiveX Control that could allow a hacker to gain complete control of a system.

Not much has been said about the exact nature of the Microsoft Video ActiveX Control vulnerability, which is so far reported to affect Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. If the vulnerability is successfully exploited, the attacker could gain the same user rights as the local user. When using Internet Explorer, code execution is remote and may not require any user intervention, Microsoft warned.

The ActiveX control involved is used to connect Microsoft DirectShow filters for use in capturing, recording and playing video. It is also the primary component Microsoft Windows Media Center uses to build filter graphs for recording and playing television video.

Microsoft said its investigation has shown that there are no by-design uses for this ActiveX Control within Internet Explorer, and customers should consider setting the kill bit for the control in the registry until a patch is ready. A list of the Class Identifiers relate to the Video ActiveX Control can be found in the advisory in the workaround section. Microsoft has also provided a way for users to implement the workaround automatically here.

"While Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 customers are not affected by this vulnerability, we are recommending that they also set these kill bits as a defense-in-depth measure," Christopher Budd, a member of Microsoft's Security Response Center team, wrote in a blog post July 6. "Once that kill bit is set, any attempt by malicious Websites to exploit the vulnerability would not succeed."

Though Budd did not indicate when a patch for the issue would be forthcoming, the company's monthly patch release is scheduled for July 14.