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Microsoft is investigating a report of a new, unpatched flaw in Internet Explorer that could expose users of the ubiquitous Web browser to attacks.
An attacker could craft a malicious Web site that takes advantage of the flaw and gain control over the PCs that visit the Web site or install malicious software on those systems, a representative of the French Security Incident Response Team (FrSIRT) said in an e-mail interview Wednesday. FrSIRT rates the issue "critical," its most serious classification.
Exploit code for the flaw is available on the Internet, according to FrSIRT, a security research organization. The availability of exploit code typically raises the risk to users because it could aid miscreants in setting up attacks.
Microsoft is investigating the report of the new IE flaw, a representative of the company said in a statement late Wednesday. The software maker is not aware of attacks that use the reported flaw, she said. After the investigation, Microsoft will take the appropriate action to protect users, which could include a security update, she said.
The flaw is similar to security vulnerabilities Microsoft fixed as part of its monthly patch release last week and in July, the FrSIRT representative said. The problem exists because IE inappropriately lets Web sites instantiate other pieces of Microsoft software on the PC.