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22 November, 2004

Are YOU safe?

There was a minor crisis at tech-news website The Register at the weekend, as visitors were exposed to the Bofra worm.  This exploits the well-known 'malformed IFRAME remote buffer overflow vulnerability' (no, I don't really know what that means, either), which affects Internet Explorer running on any version of Windows other than XP SP2 (and remember, due to conflicts with other software, a large number of institutions, including my own employer, have banned staff from installing SP2).
Put simply, if you use IE at all and don't have SP2, you are at constant risk.

A particularly scary aspect of this incident is that The Register itself, a site by and for the technically literate, might be expected to be safer than most, yet the infection vector wasn't El Reg itself, it was a banner ad provided by an entirely different company, whose server equipment had been hacked. The infection was triggered by loading the banner (which happens automatically, of course), not by clicking on the link.

Bottom line: do not use IE. It. Is. Unsafe.

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