Microsoft Releases Out-of-Band Cumulative Update for IE, Closes 10 Security Holes
Article by George Norman
On 31 Mar 2010
Microsoft has finally plugged the critical and actively exploited critical Internet Explorer (IE) vulnerability uncovered earlier this month. The vulnerability in question affected (it’s safe to use the past tense now) Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7, not the latest iteration, Internet Explorer 8. The vulnerability, which Microsoft announced it was being actively exploited in the wild, could allow for remote code execution and it existed “due to an invalid pointer reference being used within Internet Explorer.”

The security hole, which Microsoft detailed in Security Advisory 981374, was plugged yesterday, the 30th of March. Microsoft released an out-of-band update.


Microsoft released security update MS10-018, which addresses the critical vulnerability in IE6 and IE7. Because this is a cumulative update for Internet Explorer, it also solves vulnerabilities in IE8 – other vulnerabilities, not the one discussed on Security Advisory 981374. In total, MS10-018 addresses 9 privately reported vulnerabilities and 1 publicly disclosed vulnerability in Internet Explorer – so 10 vulnerabilities in total.

“We released MS10-018 out-of-band due to increases in attacks against Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7 using the vulnerability discussed in Security Advisory 981374. MS10-018 is a typical cumulative update for Internet Explorer and was originally going to be released during the normal update cycle on the 13th of April. The Internet Explorer team accelerated testing of this update due to the growing attacks against the publicly disclosed vulnerability, and the update has reached the appropriate quality bar for distribution to customers. Releasing the update early provides Internet Explorer 6 and 7 customers protection against the active attacks and provides users of all versions of Internet Explorer protection against nine other vulnerabilities,” explained Senior Security Communications Manager Lead with the MSRC (Microsoft Security Response Center), Jerry Bryant.

A visual representation of the vulnerabilities and their effect on IE6, IE7 and IE8 has been provided by the MSRC. Check it out below. The table proves one thing: IE8 is indeed the safest browser in the IE range.

Additional details on MS10-018 are available

Tags: Microsoft, Internet Explorer, Security, Vulnerability, Update
About the author: George Norman
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Microsoft Releases Out-of-Band Cumulative Update for IE, Closes 10 Security Holes
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