Microsoft writes that it released the security update after Google informed the company of the exploit being used in targeted attacks. The vulnerability (ID CVE-2018-8653) affects Internet Explorer 11 from Windows 7 to Windows 10 as well as Windows Server 2012, 2016 and 2019; IE 9 on Windows Server 2008; and IE 10 on Windows Server 2012.
"A remote code execution vulnerability exists in the way that the scripting engine handles objects in memory in Internet Explorer,” Microsoft explained in the support document. “The vulnerability could corrupt memory in such a way that an attacker could execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user.”
The firm adds that if someone is logged on with administrative user rights, “an attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the current user.”
The vulnerability could be utilized in several ways, such as someone visiting a hacked or specially crafted website. Once exploited, an attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights. As is so often the case with these types of attacks, many potential victims receive emails containing links to the malicious sites.
According to NetMarketShare, Internet Explorer is the world’s second most popular browser for desktops/laptops, though with Chrome taking 63.6 percent, IE still only has an 11.19 percent share—most of which comes from business users
Main image credit: Shutterstock