Feeds

Apple's carpet-bomb Safari flaw can wreak havoc on Windows

A tale of two security teams

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

A researcher has created a proof-of-concept site that graphically demonstrates the risk Windows users face when using Apple's Safari browser.

Microsoft's security team already warned that a "blended threat" was so serious that Windows users should curtail their use of Safari until a security patch is available. This blog post from researcher Liu Die Yu makes it clear the warning was by no means overstated.

Clicking on this link with Safari using default settings automatically downloads a booby-trapped file onto a Windows user's desktop with no prompting. The next time the user opens Internet Explorer, the force-fed file automatically causes the notepad.exe application to launch and open a non-existent file. Of course, miscreants could choose far more nefarious code.

When informed that its browser downloads files with no prompting, Apple said it may get around to changing this behavior at some point, but then again, maybe it wouldn't. In other words, this is no big deal from a security perspective, so let's all move on. This demo suggests otherwise.

It would appear that IE automatically carries out instructions buried in odd files dropped onto a user's desktop, so it's certainly to blame here. Microsoft said as much when it warned of the blended threat. We also wouldn't be surprised if the flaw is fixed tomorrow, when Microsoft releases its monthly installment of security patches.

Contrast Microsoft's response with that of Apple. The company that foisted Safari on the unwitting masses of Windows users can't be bothered to fix a flaw that clearly puts them at risk. Yeah, IE is at fault for running strange files stashed on a user's desktop, but it's interesting to note that Safari is the only major browser that automatically downloads the rogue payload. Gives a whole new meaning to Apple's "It just works" mantra. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
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.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.