Feeds

Insecure plug-ins pose danger to Firefox users

Add-ons add security threat

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

Such requests could be intercepted by an attacker, if the victim used a wireless network or an untrusted wired network, he said. In particular, an attacker that had access to or control over the local domain name service (DNS) server could easily subvert the patch process. The attacker could then respond to the update request with a malicious add-on that could monitor the victim's internet connection and steal sensitive information.

The Mozilla Foundation acknowledged the issue, but stressed that any updates downloaded from its servers user SSL and are checked against a hash.

"We strongly recommend that add-on developers require SSL for updates to prevent the attack described above," Window Snyder, chief security officer for Mozilla, stated in a post to the group's developer blog.

The Mozilla Foundation released on Wednesday a patch for both version 1.5 and version 2.0 of the browser, fixing a critical memory corruption flaw.

Ironically, an amateur developer coding up a plug-in for Firefox will be much less likely to have to worry about the issue than a large company. Because most smaller developers use the Mozilla Foundation's Add-ons download site, they are more likely to be secure.

Google, for example, not only uses an unsecured connection to check for and download updates, but also suppresses any notification that an update is being installed, Soghoian said. The company has already created a patch and will automatically be updating Google Toolbar users soon, a representative said.

"We were notified of a potential vulnerability in some updates for Firefox extensions," the representative said in a statement sent to SecurityFocus. "A fix was developed for the Google extensions and users will be automatically updated with the patch shortly. We have received no reports that this vulnerability was exploited."

Soghoian, who spent last summer interning at Google, hopes that the search giant will also reconsider its decision to update users without notification. Firefox users now need to take a critical look at the third-party add-ons installed on their browser, and having as much information as possible helps, Soghoian said.

"As a matter of general policy, vendors really should not have their software silently install updates without asking the user's permission - it is asking for trouble," he stated in his advisory.

The Mozilla development team is currently considering ways that they could prevent insecure updates in the next version of the browser, Firefox 3.0, the group said on its blog.

This article originally appeared in Security Focus.

Copyright © 2007, SecurityFocus

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
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.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.