Feeds

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

A tale of two security teams

Seven Steps to Software Security

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. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
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
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
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.
Reducing security risks from open source software
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.