Feeds

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

A tale of two security teams

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.