Feeds

Germany warns surfers against Firefox

Achtung browser

Seven Steps to Software Security

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. ®

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
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
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
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.