Microsoft Warns Windows XP Users To Avoid F1 Key In Internet Explorer

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News Posted: Wed, Mar 3 2010 12:57 AM
2010 has not been kind to Microsoft's security team. In under a month'stime, we've seen Microsoft address a bug that was supposed to fix anancient exploit but instead caused more headaches, all while having toencourage consumers not to be duped by a fake security site paradingaround as something useful. As if those software savvy folks up inWashington didn't have enough on their plates, the company has todayissued yet another startling advisory, and this is easily one of themore bizarre ones that we've seen.

Microsoft has gone public with an investigation into a "a vulnerabilityin VBScript that is exposed on supported versions ofMicrosoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 through theuse of Internet Explorer." This is quite significant because a hugemajority of PCs in the world still rely on Windows XP, and manycorporate environments haven't upgraded or switched away from IE. Todate, Microsoft has yet to find evidence that this exploit could harmWindows 7, Vista or Server 2008 users.



The primary problem that we're dealing with here is "remote codeexecution," and while the company admits that they aren't aware of anyattacks that take advantage of the vulnerabilities, they're obviouslylooking to patch things up before it gets bad. Here's Microsoft's exactexplanation of the issue:

The vulnerability exists in the way that VBScript interacts withWindows Help files when using Internet Explorer. If a malicious Website displayed a specially crafted dialog box and a user pressed the F1key, arbitrary code could be executed in the security context of thecurrently logged-on user. On systems running Windows Server 2003,Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration is enabled by default, which helps to mitigate against this issue.


Did you catch that? The part about the "F1" key? In a few words,Microsoft is actually advising Windows XP users who rely on IE to notuse their F1 key, which is kind of crazy when you think about it.Thankfully, not many people actually rely on the F1 key in day-to-dayuse, but just imagine the outrage if "F1" were replaced with "A." Thepublic is being told that the problem is being worked on, though thereis no time table given as to when we can expect a fix. Just push thoseF1 urges aside from awhile, and everything should be just fine.
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rapid1 replied on Wed, Mar 3 2010 2:02 AM

That is a truly odd one. The A replacement comment playing forefront in it as this could be any key on your keyboard. Glad I have not used IE as a primary for many years.

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Zestia replied on Wed, Mar 3 2010 8:57 AM

Agreed rapid1. And I don't use IE much either but I'm curious, what function does F1 serve for most people? I know it plays a role in gaming and if I press it now...oh nooooooooo. Just kidding, when I press it now it brings up Firefox Help. Does F1 bring up IE Help?

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Yes it does Zestia. F1 is normally set to bring up the help of whatever program is active.

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realneil replied on Wed, Mar 3 2010 10:01 AM

Gawd!

It never stops!, and proves once again, that "Using Internet Explorer Is Like Being Slowly Pecked To Death By Chickens."

Dogs are great judges of character, and if your dog doesn't like somebody being around, you shouldn't trust them.

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Zestia replied on Wed, Mar 3 2010 10:33 AM

Gracias InfinityzeN - much obliged.

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ClemSnide replied on Wed, Mar 3 2010 10:49 AM

Reminds me of the old Windows startup error message:

ERROR: No keyboard detected. Press F1 to continue.


"I didn't cry when Bambi's mother was shot... but I cried when HAL was turned off."

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LMFAO clem :D (maybe there was a F1 addon that was apart from the keyboard :P lol)

i haven't used internet explorer in 2 years or so...

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You pays your money and you takes your choice. Those who choose to use IE as their browser are going to have to take the consequences. Hope no one will miss the F1 key in China, where IE6 still enjoys a market share of over 60 % !...

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3vi1 replied on Wed, Mar 3 2010 10:46 PM

As a workaround, users who need help are advised to press the F2 key halfway down.

And buy a Mac.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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No need to buy a Mac ; just install a better (non-Windows) OS on your PC !...

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M-ManLA replied on Thu, Mar 4 2010 3:21 AM

More Reason to by Windows 7.

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3vi1 replied on Sun, Mar 7 2010 6:18 PM

I would have said that too... but anyone who needs help needs a Mac. LoL

- Irritate Windows users. Check.

- Irritate Mac users: Check.

Hmm... now let me see what I can do about the one guy around here still running BeOS.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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