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So, there's a huge hole in the wild about IE. Normally I would not be interested, as I don't use IE, but in this case, I'm not able to understand the connection between the IE hole and the chinese google hack. Could you please explain what's going on, in terms of coding, source of the issue, workarounds to prevent it, and if on the server side I can be vulnerable to something ?

I'd prefer not a link to other resources. Instead, a clear explanation is much appreciated, so we can increase the knowledge on SO.

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migrated from Jan 18 '10 at 15:03

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Internet Explorer to blame for attack on Google

There is a lot of news coming out about the attack on Google and everyone involved is trying to figure out exactly what happened. While nothing is official, a lot of the evidence has started pointing to the Chinese government as being behind it. Even so, our friends over at Microsoft might have some insight as to how the attack was accomplished.

Microsoft says it best in their security blog:

"We have determined that Internet Explorer was one of the vectors used in targeted and sophisticated attacks against Google and possibly other corporate networks."

Earlier today, VeriSign provided some information about the way Google was hacked, but here we have the software giant taking some responsibility for what happened. While the vulnerability still exists, Microsoft doesn't seem all that worried that the hole could cause problems for the average user. IE8 and their newest OS releases all have security features in place by default that can prevent attack, leaving only the more outdated versions of the browser at risk. Even so, they've released a security advisory to clarify what the vulnerability will and won't do.

Developments on this cyberattack will probably continue coming out but this news will definitely help narrow down the problems and may even help reveal who was truly behind it all.

The real question: why is Google using Internet Explorer anyway?


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i like the 'bottom line' :) – Molly7244 Jan 18 '10 at 15:53

As far as I'm aware. The hacking exploited a hole in Internet Explorer which allowed them to distribute malware to take control over the victim machines and thus further penetrate the network. Blog from McAfee has some more in depth discussion

From the looks of it, microsoft made a posting about the vulnerability in question

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Ah, ok. So it wasn't like they took control of gmail/google users and stole their passwords. They targeted google employees and injected the crack so to gain access to google network. – Stefano Borini Jan 18 '10 at 15:03

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