A fright at the Opera

Cross-platform flaw creates minor drama

Opera last week updated its browser to defend against a vulnerability that could allow an attacker to spy on private emails or computer files.

A flaw in versions of Opera prior to version 7.54 makes it possible for attackers to read (but not alter) files on a victim's PC or snoop on mails emails written or received by M2, Opera's mail program. The vulnerability also opens the door to cookie theft, URL spoofing (which can be used in phishing attacks) or tracking a user's browsing history.

Opera version 7.53 and prior on Windows, Linux and Mac are all affected by the flaw. Users are urged to update to Opera version 7.54, released last Thursday, which defends against this exploit.

The vulnerability was discovered by Israeli security researchers GreyMagic Software, which has produced an advisory and proof of concept demo to highlight its concerns. "The vulnerability is a new variant of an older vulnerability GreyMagic detected in February last year. This time the 'location' object isn't sufficiently protected from malicious attacks," it explains.

It's been an indifferent month so far for users of alternative browsers. Last week Mozilla posted updates to of its Firefox browser, Thunderbird email client and Mozilla suite to defend against various security holes. The release includes a fix for a vuln. involving in a library for the Portable Networks Graphic (PNG) image format used by several software vendors including the Mozilla Project.

IE users might be permitted a wry smile at other's misfortune, if they weren’t so busy patching their browser instead. ®

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