CERT recommends anything but IE

By John Oates, The Register Jun 28 2004 7:38AM

US CERT (the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team), is advising people to ditch Internet Explorer and use a different browser after the latest security vulnerability in the software was exposed.

A statement on the CERT site said: "There are a number of significant vulnerabilities in technologies relating to the IE domain/zone security model, the DHTML object model, MIME type determination, and ActiveX. It is possible to reduce exposure to these vulnerabilities by using a different web browser, especially when browsing untrusted sites." CERT otherwise recommends users to set security settings to high and disable JavaScript

Malicious code, dubbed variously as "Scob" or "Download.Ject", originally posted last week on a Russian website, could be downloaded secretly onto websites using Microsoft's Internet Information Server 5.0. The code could then be used to log keystrokes made by visitors to the site - so long as they used Internet Explorer as their browser. Information, including passwords, was then to be emailed to the criminals behind the atack.

Microsoft said that it was unaware of widespread consumer impact and noted that the Russian site had been taken offline. It said some enterprise users of Windows 2000 Server, specifically users running IIS 5.0, were being targeted by "Download.Ject". According to MS, this is not a trojan or worm but "a targeted manual attack by individuals or entities towards a specific server". It said users should use a firewall, ensure they have the latest software updates and use anti-virus software.

Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman, called on users to switch on auto-update so that patches would spread faster. Speaking to Reuters in Australia at the weekend, he vowed to "guarantee that the average time to fix will come down. The thing we have to do is not only get these patches done very quickly...we also have to convince people to turn on auto-update."®

We've all been hearing about and seeing these vulnerabilities for IE as long as I can remember.
How does Bill Gates "solution" solve this problem? Turning on auto-update?

Lets see... if they don't have the service packs... and they are on dial up... it'll take them approx 10hrs of online time to download the service packs. Thats assuming that they do NOTHING but download the updates. Thats just for XP SP1... XP SP2 is even larger than SP1...

I *don't think* that service packs will even be downloaed via auto-update... but its been a while since I've checked.

Granted: They can still download and install critical updates but they can still take hours to download on dial up... and severely lags the internet connection.

They've got to come up with a better solution... like... Gates should provide a high speed internet connection for all users of the m$ OS so they can get updates in a quick and timely manner.

For now.. we'll have to take CERTs advice... anything BUT IE.

Sad thing is: some people are forced to use IE because some developers think that active X and everything in the browser is much better than a stand alone program...