Feeds

Firefox spoofing flaw goes international

Esperanto for spammers bug hits Opera and Konqueror too

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Firefox logo A security loophole in Mozilla and Firefox browser could be used to spoof the URL displayed in the address bar, SSL certificate and status bar. The vulnerability also affects Opera and Konqueror and stems from a flawed IDN (International Domain Name) implementation within the browsers.

The bug could be exploited by registering domain names with certain international characters - which look like other commonly-used characters - in order to hoodwink users into believing they on a different, trusted site. As such, the bug creates a new wheeze for phishing attacks. For Germans to use national German characters in ".de" domains, for example, is one thing, but the use of national characters has been extended to the international domain space (.com, .net an .org) and extends the scope for confusion.

Thomas Kristensen, CTO at Secunia told El Reg: "This issue is not a traditional vulnerability, but a serious security issue which is caused by an inappropriate implementation of IDN."

"We have all heard about the "problems" with "o" that looks like "0" or "l" and "1", allowing people to register "MlCR0S0FT.com" and abusing that to trick people. Using IDN which support Unicode characters gives the phishers and scamsters thousands of more characters to play around with, some resemble "normal" characters to the point where not even the trained and paranoid eye will spot the difference, " he said.

The bug has been confirmed in Mozilla 1.7.5, Firefox 1.0, Konqueror 3.2.2 and Opera 7.54. Other versions may also be affected, Secunia reports. Internet Explorer users are in the clear from this one, although subject to flaws that have a similar effect. You can check if your browser is affected using Secunia's test.

Secunia advises users not to follow links from untrusted sources and to manually type in the URL they wish to visit in the address bar as workaround prior to the availability of more comprehensive fixes. ®

Related stories

Phishing morphs into pharming
Probably the simplest phishing trick in the world
Phishers tapping botnets to automate attacks
Phishing for dummies: hook, line and sinker

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age
Kiwis to seek random investors for crowd-funded randomiser
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.