New Firefox, Mozilla Versions Plug Critical Security Holes

By Larry Seltzer  |  Posted 2005-04-16 Print this article Print

Third critical security update in less than two months fixes nine bugs in Firefox.

The Mozilla Foundation has released new versions of the Firefox browser and Mozilla suite of programs to address several security vulnerabilities. As previously reported, the updates—Firefox 1.0.3 and Mozilla 1.7.7—patch a known JavaScript Engine flaw.
The vulnerabilities addressed by the new versions include three critical bugs in Firefox, two of which are also present in Mozilla. All seven vulnerabilities addressed in the Mozilla fix are also present in the Firefox upgrade, which also contains two fixes specific to it. No changes were announced in the Thunderbird mail client.

The three critical fixes involve two cases of arbitrary code execution and one of privilege escalation. In the first, an error in the support for "favicons" could allow a script to run with elevated privileges and install or run malicious software. The second, specific to Firefox, allows malicious scripts to open a privileged page in the sidebar and then inject script that can be used to install malicious code or steal data. The third bug appears to involve UI code executing user scripts in an inappropriately privileged fashion. Mozilla is withholding further details on this bug until April 25. Many of the noncritical bugs also involve serious compromises, such as privileged JavaScript execution and cross-site scripting.

The Mozilla Foundation had previously announced that it would not release any new major versions of the Mozilla Suite, but that it would continue to issue security updates. This release represents the third major set of security fixes in the Mozilla Suite and Firefox since late February.

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.
Larry Seltzer has been writing software for and English about computers ever since—,much to his own amazement—,he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983.

He was one of the authors of NPL and NPL-R, fourth-generation languages for microcomputers by the now-defunct DeskTop Software Corporation. (Larry is sad to find absolutely no hits on any of these +products on Google.) His work at Desktop Software included programming the UCSD p-System, a virtual machine-based operating system with portable binaries that pre-dated Java by more than 10 years.

For several years, he wrote corporate software for Mathematica Policy Research (they're still in business!) and Chase Econometrics (not so lucky) before being forcibly thrown into the consulting market. He bummed around the Philadelphia consulting and contract-programming scenes for a year or two before taking a job at NSTL (National Software Testing Labs) developing product tests and managing contract testing for the computer industry, governments and publication.

In 1991 Larry moved to Massachusetts to become Technical Director of PC Week Labs (now eWeek Labs). He moved within Ziff Davis to New York in 1994 to run testing at Windows Sources. In 1995, he became Technical Director for Internet product testing at PC Magazine and stayed there till 1998.

Since then, he has been writing for numerous other publications, including Fortune Small Business, Windows 2000 Magazine (now Windows and .NET Magazine), ZDNet and Sam Whitmore's Media Survey.

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