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Firefox and Opera squish big buffer overflow bugs

Mozilla drops iFrames in sandbox, Opera mends Gmail glitch

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It's time to update alternative browser software again, with new releases of Firefox and Opera out this week. Firefox 17, released Tuesday, features improved support for social networking functions, such as Facebook Messenger, as well as new features to prevent blacklisted extensions from running without user permission. Support for Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), a five-year-old version of Apple's desktop operating system, has been dropped.

On the security front, Firefox 17 boasts improved protection against drive-by download attacks, thanks to a sandbox for iFrames. The release also grapples with a large number of security flaws, around six of which are critical. The critical flaws include memory corruption and buffer overflow bugs that might lend themselves towards attacks design to drop malware onto the systems of surfers running vulnerable software.

The complete list of bugs resolved by Firefox 17 runs into the thousands (yes, really) but Paul Ducklin of Sophos has helpfully put together a blog post highlighting the main issues.

In other browser security news, a new release of Opera fixes a critical heap-based buffer overflow vulnerability. Left unpatched, the cross-platform flaw creates a potential avenue for malware-based attacks that rely on tricking surfers into visiting sites running malicious code. Version 12.11 of Opera also tackles a glitch that meant Gmail sometimes failed to load as well as tackling lesser stability issues and security bugs itemised in Opera's release notes here. ®

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