Feeds

Memory-hogging bug offers universal browser crash exploit

DOM and dumber

Seven Steps to Software Security

Security researchers have published details of a security flaw that can crash multiple browsers across multiple platforms.

There are many more flaws out there that are more serious, but the security shortcomings in JavaScript's DOM (Document Object Model) are nonetheless noteworthy because the issue affects Firefox, Safari, Opera, Chrome and Internet Explorer to a lesser or greater extent. Even smartphones, such as the iPhone and Nokia N95, as well at the Sony PS3 might be forced to crash using the approach, obliging users to reset devices.

The flaw works by tricking a browser into allocating huge chunks of memory, behaviour likely to result in a crash.

Using JavaScript's DOM (Document Object Model) to create a selection menu on a web page with a very high value sets up the trick. H Security explains that the coding trickery results in a huge allocation of memory.

This isn't in itself a problem if the memory area is defined as read only, but problems arise in the many cases where browsers fail to stop overwrites, leading to two processes trying to get at the same portion of memory at the same time and therefore provoking browser crashes.

The flaw presents a browser crash rather than malware injection risk in all cases. Crashing is most easily achieved on IE, with all versions of Microsoft's browser affected. Versions of Ubuntu running Konquerer might be forced to reboot if exposed to attacks based on the bug because of a memory management failure issue.

By contrast Opera, Chrome and Firefox have all been patched to defend against the flaw - so only older versions of those browsers are affected.

A security advisory from G-Sec, including proof of concept code, explains the issue in far greater depth here. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
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
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.