Still using Internet Explorer? Probably it is the time when you should leave this age-old browser alone. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is known for its security-related issues. But recently things have gone too far that it can be used by the hackers to steal your files. Security researcher Jhon Page has found an unpatched exploit in how Internet Explorer 11 handles.MHT saved web pages which would allow hackers to steal files on your PC.
MHT is a web file archive format for the Internet Explorer. While all modern browser uses HTML as the archive format, IE is still using MHT format.
How It Is Affecting:
The XXE (XML eXternal Entity) vulnerability in IE uses XML to bypass Internet Explorer’s protection against activating ActiveX modules and requires only that the user double click on the .MHT file. “Typically, when instantiating ActiveX Objects like ‘Microsoft.XMLHTTP’ users will get a security warning bar in IE and be prompted to activate blocked content,” the researcher said. “However, when opening a specially crafted .MHT file using malicious < xml > markup tags the user will get no such active content or security bar warnings.”
Page said that he successfully tested the exploit in the latest Internet Explorer Browser v11 with all the recent security patches on Windows 7, Windows 10, and Windows Server 2012 R2 systems.
What If You Are Not Using IE?
Even if you are using Google Chrome or other browsers as your default browser, you are still vulnerable to this exploit. Because Windows uses the Internet Explorer to open MHT by default. So you just have to double click on a MHT file send to via chat or email to become a victim of this.
What You Should Do?
The first thing you should do is stop using Internet Explorer if you are still using this. You Microsoft’s Edge Browser, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, etc. Now Edge is using new engine. The second thing you should do is stop opening the MHT file without scanning it.
What Microsoft Is Doing?
Page said that he informed Microsoft about the exploit but Microsoft declined any immediate fix or patch for the issue. Instead, they said a fix would be “considered” in a future release. So the researcher released information about it online with a Youtube demo.
Maybe in future Microsoft will issue a fix for this. Until then those users who are still using the ancient browser will remain vulnerable to this exploit.
Are you still using Internet Explorer then let me know in the comment section why you are still using?