Feeds

A serious browser vulnerability, but whose?

Security researchers can't decide whether it's in IE or Firefox

3 Big data security analytics techniques

A serious vulnerability that causes Internet Explorer to launch Firefox and execute a malicious payload is sparking debate about exactly who is responsible for the flaw.

The vulnerability, which was widely reported on security blogs, allows an attacker to remotely execute malicious code on a machine that is running IE but also has the Mozilla browser installed. By luring an IE user to a malevolently crafted site, the attacker can cause Firefox to execute the code without first vetting it for security.

The saying about success having many parents but failure being an orphan seems fitting here. Window Snyder, who heads security at Mozilla, wrote today that Mozilla developers will patch Firefox so it no longer accepts bad data from IE. But she stressed that only people browsing with the Microsoft browser were vulnerable to the attack.

"We recommend that people use Firefox and as always take care when browsing unknown websites," she wrote.

For its part, Microsoft representatives said company researchers have "investigated the claim of a vulnerability in Internet Explorer and found that this is not a vulnerability in a Microsoft product." Jesper Johansson, a former senior security strategist for Microsoft, similarly argues that "most definitely" the problem isn't caused by IE.

"Firefox fails to properly validate the parameters, and any fix will have to come from Mozilla, not Microsoft," he wrote in a blog entry.

A proof of concept exploit found here uses IE to hand off maliciously-scripted code to a Firefox handler known as "firefoxurl." Handlers, which also include strings such as "ftp" and "aim," are found in the address bar and in many cases can be used to get Firefox to carry out certain actions.

Roger Thompson, CTO of Exploit Prevention Labs, says Microsoft shares culpability because IE fails to properly validate the input before passing it along.

"I think it's an IE issue mostly, because if you access the exploit directly with Firefox, FF warns you that something bad is happening and advises you to not do it," he said in an instant message. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.