This sounds nasty…“Unlike with previously revealed vulnerabilities, computers can be infected simply by visiting one of the Web sites or viewing an infected image in an e-mail …”
PCs Vulnerable to Spyware, Viruses
By Brian Krebs
Special to The Washington Post
A previously unknown flaw in Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system is leaving computer users vulnerable to spyware, viruses and other programs that could overtake their machines and has sent the company scrambling to come up with a fix.
Microsoft said in a statement yesterday that it is investigating the vulnerability and plans to issue a software patch to fix the problem. The company could not say how soon that patch would be available.
Mike Reavey, operations manager for Microsoft’s Security Response Center, called the flaw “a very serious issue.”
Security researchers revealed the flaw on Tuesday and posted instructions online that showed how would-be attackers could exploit the flaw. Within hours, computer virus and spyware authors were using the flaw to distribute malicious programs that could allow them to take over and remotely control afflicted computers.
Unlike with previously revealed vulnerabilities, computers can be infected simply by visiting one of the Web sites or viewing an infected image in an e-mail through the preview pane in older versions of Microsoft Outlook, even if users did not click on anything or open any files. Operating system versions ranging from the current Windows XP to Windows 98 are affected.(read more)