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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
HP: NORKS' cyber spying efforts actually a credible cyberthreat
'Sophisticated' spies, DIY tech and a TROLL ARMY – report
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
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
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.