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IE Phishing Vulnerability Patched

Microsoft on Monday released the much-anticipated fix for a flaw that is already being exploited in Internet Explorer that allowed the widespread "phishing" attacks through e-mail.

In phishing, an attacker sends an e-mail that looks as if it came from a reputable organization, such as a bank or Internet payment processing company. However, a vulnerability in IE allowed those users to provide a link and send users to one site while displaying a spoofed address. So the URL appears to be a legitimate institution, but the actual page content is being served up by another, nefarious site.

Microsoft had provided a workaround for the problem for several weeks, but had not released a fix. The company was under an enormous amount of pressure from users and industry observers to get the fix released.

It is the first time since launching its monthly patching program back in October that Microsoft has released a patch outside of that monthly patch cycle date, which normally falls on the second Tuesday of the month.

The "phishing" fix only rates as "important" in the security bulletin that posted on Monday. It is one of three fixes in the bulletin for IE flaws, including a critical flaw involving a cross-domain vulnerability and another important flaw involving a drag-and-drop vulnerability.

The IE patch is cumulative. It can be found at www.microsoft.com/technet/security/Bulletin/MS04-004.asp.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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