New Bug Found In Internet Explorer 4

Press Release: Microsoft Corp. [NASDAQ:MSFT] officials have recognized the existence of a new bug found in the firm's Internet Explorer Web browser software. A design firm named Anfy Java first reported the glitch which only impacts the Java applications of Microsoft, not other "pure" applications of the Sun Microsystems [NASDAQ:SUNW] programming language. Microsoft spokesmen called the error a "denial-of-service" problem which causes an effected Windows-based computer to crash when a particular Java applet is executed. Officials said that the firm is investigating the reported problem and will issue a repair patch when the error has been researched. The company did not give a time frame for a patch release.

According to Anfy Java, the security hole was discovered by the firm's founder and director Fabio Ciucci during the last week of October. Ciucci claims that only one kilobyte (KB) of a corrupted file is required to crash not only Explorer 4.0, 4.1 and the Explorer 5 beta, but the whole Windows system as well. The bug effects users of Windows 95 and Windows 98, Ciucci said. The glitch causes all the open tasks to be lost immediately, and a reboot is required to escape the error. On Windows NT, Internet Explorer crashes, but the operating system in most cases is still usable, according to Anfy Java.

"I hope it won't happen, but if others release free versions of applets containing this bug, virtually every Internet page will become dangerous, and the same goes for e-mail attachments," Ciucci warned. "Users have no time to hesitate." Ciucci said his fear that the error will be disseminated quickly has kept the firm from disclosing the information required to re-create the bug. According to Ciucci, the effected applet will not run in "true and 100 percent pure" Java environments, such as Netscape Navigator, Sun's HotJava or using the Java Plugin. The firm repeatedly pointed out it feels that Java is a secure and reliable technology, and that the bug is only present in "non-standard" Java modifications made by Microsoft for its Internet Explorer 4 on Windows systems. Anfy Java said that the applet will not work on Explorer 3 or previous versions of the browser or in Apple Mac Explorer.

The news comes at tough time for Microsoft, which is already awaiting a District Court Judge's decision as to whether it violated a 1995 licensing agreement with Sun by creating its own variation of the "write once, run anywhere" Java language. The same judge ordered the software giant to remove Sun's "Java compatible" logo from its products earlier this year. A ruling in that case is expected to be handed down sometime this week as the judge, Hon. Ronald Whyte, has completed releasing evidence from the trial portion of the suit to the public.

Anfy Java builds a line of 30 Java applets designed to generate special effects on the Internet. More information on Anfy Java and the bug is available at

Matt Hines, Newsbytes


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