Feeds

Two years later, Apple Safari still open to 'carpet-bombing'

Unlike most 'sane' browsers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

After more than two years, Apple's Safari browser for Macs remains vulnerable to attacks that allow websites to litter a user's hard drive with thousands of malicious files.

The "carpet bomb" vulnerability was publicly disclosed in May 2008 after members of Apple's security team said they didn't consider the quirk a security issue. After Microsoft took the unusual step of advising its customers to stop using Safari, Apple issued a patch Windows versions but not for OS X.

"This means that if you use the Safari browser on OSX, a malicious entity can drop any amount of binaries or data files into your ~/Downloads/ folder," Nitesh Dhanjani, the researcher who credited with discovering the vulnerability, wrote over the weekend.

"This issue is caused because, while most sane web browsers warn the end user and ask for explicit permission before saving a file locally, Safari goes ahead and saves the file into the default download location without asking the user - even if hundreds of files are served up by the malicious website simultaneously."

Apple's dismissal of the advisory probably has something to do with the requirement that users would have to double click on the downloaded file and enter an administrative password before their machines could be hijacked. But as Dhanjani points out, in a world in which state-sponsored attacks and corporate espionage are par for the course, it's never a good idea for outsiders to be able to control the files that are downloaded onto a user's computer.

In the two years since the flaw was disclosed, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome have been updated to protect its users. But so far, while Apple's security has agreed that it might be good if Safari actually checked with the user before downloading potentially unwanted files, it has said only that a fix "could take quite a while, if it ever gets incorporated."

It appears they were true to their word. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.