Feeds

Germany warns surfers against Firefox

Achtung browser

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.