It didn't take long for digital ne'er do gooders to actively exploit a new Windows XP flaw discovered by a Google engineer last month. In a blog post on Wednesday, Microsoft said it noted some 10,000 "distinct computers" have fallen prey to the attack.
"At first, we only saw legitmate researchers testing innocuous proof-of-concepts. Then, early on June 15th, the first real public exploits emerged," Microsoft said. "Those intial exploits were targeted and fairly limited. In the past week, however, attacks have picked up."
Microsoft also said the attacks are no longer limited to specific geographies, noting outbreaks in Portugal, Russia, Croatia, Germany, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and several others, including the United States.
The exploit involves a vulnerability in the Windows Help and Support Center software that comes with Windows XP. In short, the attack is being used to download various malware, as well as a piece of software called Obitel that...downloads more malware. Go figure.