Feeds

Google plugs GMail exploit

Callback calamity

Reducing security risks from open source software

Google has fixed a vulnerability in its popular GMail web mail service that creates a means for hackers to steal users' contact lists.

The cross-site scripting flaw stemmed from the decision by GMail to store contact lists in a JavaScript file. GMail always saves contact lists as JavaScript code using the same URL, so a script featuring this URL can read out the fields of a users' contact list. GMail failed to check what sites were attempting to run this "callback" function.

As a result users logged into GMail, or other Google services sharing the same login, are liable to hand over their contact list to spammers or other miscreants providing they are tricked into visiting a maliciously constructed website. Exploitation would have been as simple as fooling users into visiting a hostile website through spam messages sent to users' email accounts.

The flaw, similar to previous problems with GMail, was first reported by Googlified. The security bug was introduced through an unannounced feature on Google Video that was designed to allow users' to email clips to their contacts more easily.

Coders failed to take into account that it was a bad idea to save sensitive data as JavaScript, under predictable URLs, a problem Google watchers spotted shortly after Google made the coding changes last week. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Microsoft: You NEED bad passwords and should re-use them a lot
Dirty QWERTY a perfect P@ssword1 for garbage websites
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
Crooks fling banking Trojan at Japanese smut site fans
Wait - they're doing online banking with an unpatched Windows PC?
NIST told to grow a pair and kick NSA to the curb
Lrn2crypto, oversight panel tells US govt's algorithm bods
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.