Feeds

IE and Firefox cough up hard drive contents

Floor by flaw

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Updated The latest versions of Internet Explorer and Firefox on Windows and (in the case of Firefox) Unix systems are vulnerable to attacks that could reveal the contents of sensitive files residing on a victim's hard drives.

The vulnerability resides in the functionality that allows the browsers to upload files to a remote server. It requires a victim to visit a booby-trapped website and enter text with certain characters in a comment interface or other input field.

Demonstration exploits, one for IE and the other for Firefox, show how typing a simple string into a message box reveals a Windows user's boot.ini file.

Petko D. Petkov, a researcher who has investigated the vulnerability, says similar techniques could be used to reveal more sensitive files on Windows or Unix-based machines, for example C:\WINDOWS\system32\config\SAM in the former or /etc/passwd in the latter.

The vulnerability in Firefox was tested with versions 2.0 and 1.5. It is a variant of a bug that was reported on Bugzilla as early as 2000, according to Michal Zalewski, who is credited with discovering the flaw in that browser.

Petkov is believed to have first determined that IE 7 is also vulnerable. ®

A Microsoft spokesman said the company is investigating the report. Initial findings by Microsoft's security team are consistent with the report, specifically that "an attacker could gain access to user files if the location of a given file is already known" and would then have to convince the victim to enter the location of that file in a Web page.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.