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Press Release

Maxthon Beats Microsoft to the Punch Creating Barrier to Zero-day Attacks

The attack exploited a previously unknown vulnerability, nicknamed Aurora, in Internet Explorer

Maxthon announced its browser already has in place technology that blocks zero-day "Aurora" hacking attacks such as the one that broke into computers run by 20 companies, including Google, Adobe, and Juniper Networks, making away with intellectual property.

The attack exploited a previously unknown vulnerability, nicknamed Aurora, in Internet Explorer. The attacks took advantage of buffers in a file, mshtml.dll, engineers at Maxthon explained. When the buffers are flooded with more data than they can store, it creates an opening to a computer, through which a trojan is downloaded. The trojan program gives access to the compromised computer that the attacker can use to scan and download files.

The latest version of Maxthon Browser 2.5.12 beta, under testing since late 2009, already has a security measure included called "Safe Box" that protects against Zero-day vulnerabilities such as that exploited by Aurora. Zero-day refers to a weakness that has not yet been spotted or fixed by a program's developers. When the first victim triggers the attack by opening an infected email, download, or Web site, that is the "zero-day." Microsoft has so far not issued a security patch although it has promised one by January 21. Users of the latest version of Maxthon are already protected against such attacks. It can be downloaded at the Maxthon Forum: http://forum.maxthon.com/viewthread.php?tid=77881 .

A person using Maxthon and who is tricked into an Aurora trap would see a dialog box similar to this one. http://blog.maxthon.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/1.jpg

A harmless simulation of the Aurora vulnerability is provided for demonstration at http://www.maxthon.com/test/security.htm .

If your browser is not protected by methods such as the Safe Box in Maxthon, the demonstration could crash your computer or launch Windows' calculator, but it does no permanent damage.

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SYS-CON's Security News desk trawls the world of security for news of software, hardware, products, and services that seems likely to be of interest to infosec professionals and summarizes them for easy assimilation by busy IT managers and staff.