Friday, March 27, 2009

Firefox 3 security alert, patch needed

A security glitch has been found, that apparently threatens every Firefox 3 user, regardless of platform. I learned about it here:

Firefox Looking To Lose The Flab - And The Flaw
Memory leaks and code exploits are a fact of life for both browser developers and their users — regardless of the specific browser in question. For the developers at Mozilla, both issues have been on their minds this week, as browser bugs of both sorts have been all over the news.


Security researchers published code on Wednesday that reportedly would allow an attacker to load unauthorized software on a target's computer simply by having the target view a specially-coded XML file. According to reports, Mozilla developers were blindsided by the bug and immediately raced to find a patch, a task they'd completed by this morning, adding it to next-week's Firefox 3.0.8 release. Because of the exploit, that release is now considered a "high-priority fire-drill security update" for all users.

Yikes. More about it here:

Firefox fix due next week after attack is published
[...] Mozilla Corp. developers have already worked out a fix for the vulnerability. It's slated to ship in the upcoming 3.0.8 release of the browser, which developers are now characterizing as a "high-priority fire-drill security update," thanks to the attack code. That update is expected sometime early next week.

"We ... consider this a critical issue," said Lucas Adamski, director of security engineering at Mozilla, in an e-mail.

The bug affects Firefox on all operating systems, including Mac OS and Linux, according to Mozilla developer notes on the issue.

By tricking a victim into viewing a maliciously coded XML file, an attacker could use this bug to install unauthorized software on a victim's system. This kind of Web-based malware, called a drive-by download, has become increasingly popular in recent years. [...]

If you are using Firefox 3, this would be an update to watch for.


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