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Code-execution bug found in Apple Safari

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The latest version of Apple's Safari browser contains a critical bug that allows attackers to install malware on end user machines, security researchers have warned.

The flaw in the way Safari handles parent windows can be exploited "to execute arbitrary code when a user visits a specially-crafted webpage and closes opened pop-up windows," vulnerability tracking service Secunia warned here.

The vulnerability could also be exploited using booby-trapped email that's read using Safari, the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team said on Monday. It has been confirmed in version 4.0.5 for Windows, and the latest Mac version may also be affected.

The vulnerability was discovered by Polish researcher Krystian Koskowski, who shared this proof-of-concept. Secunia rated the vulnerability "highly critical," the second-highest rating on its five-tier severity scale. US CERT's advisory said researchers there were able to confirm the vulnerability.

Apple has not commented on the reports. Until a patch is released, the threat can be reduced by disabling javascript, CERT said. This can be accomplished by opening Safari preferences, choosing the Security tap and unchecking the box that says "enable javascript." ®

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