Feeds

Germany warns surfers against Firefox

Achtung browser

The essential guide to IT transformation

German's official cyber-security response team is advising surfers not to use Firefox pending the release of a patch to defend against a critical unpatched vulnerability.

BürgerCERT, a division of the German federal government's security in information technology (BSI) department, warned surfers to steer clear of the open source browser until Mozilla releases a fix, due on 30 March. The zero-day vulnerability in the latest full version 3.6 of Firefox was discovered by security researcher Evgeny Legerov last month and explained in much greater depth in our story at the time here. Legerov controversially offered to sell exploit code he developed.

Mozilla acknowledged the security vulnerability on Thursday and promised the the next version of 3.6.2, due at the end of the month, would plug the hole. In the meantime, Mozilla published a beta of Firefox 3.6.2 that addresses the flaw. However this release isn't ready for prime time just yet.

The German government, which previously urged surfers to stay off IE in January for similar unpatched security bug reasons, has now taken a stand against Firefox.

The consensus among security researchers is that mass browser migration in enterprises is unworkable. It's tricky enough to get some corporates (including even Google, if the evidence of Operation Aurora is to be believed) to upgrade from IE 6.

Consumers don't have to worry about access to legacy applications but swapping browsers willy-nilly in response to flaws doesn't make a great deal of sense even then because all browsers are subject to security flaps from time to time. The more important question is to what extent an unpatched browser hole is getting exploited by hackers, scammers and other riff-raff.

The Firefox vulnerability poses a possible mechanism to infect surfers using the open source browser if they can be tricked into visiting a maliciously constructed website. In the case of the Firefox vulnerability exploit code is available - though not in a "weaponised" form - and there's not much sign that attacks are taking place.

Versions of Firefox prior to 3.6 are not prone to this specific vulnerability but are subject to other bugs, so reverting back to earlier versions of the browser isn't the smartest idea. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
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.
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?