Feeds

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

A tale of two security teams

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
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.
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
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?