Mozilla Vulnerable

By Larry Seltzer  |  Posted 2003-12-11 Print this article Print

There are many variations of this particular scheme, and surprisingly some of them partially work on Mozilla as well. The anchor link version of this vulnerability also results in the partial, incorrect address being displayed in the status line as the user hovers the mouse over the link. Versions of Mozilla I tested (Versions 1.0 and 1.5) also showed the partial address in the status line, although they displayed the full address in the address bar. Just for fun, I tried Netscape 4.7 as well. Despite being one of worst programs ever written, it handled this situation properly, displaying the full URL in the address and status lines.
There is also the issue of HTML e-mail. If an HTML message is sent with one of these links, could the user be misled to the wrong site?
When you click on the link in a message in Outlook 2002 it opens a browser window with the correct address, and it even strips out what was to the left of the @. Ironically, Outlook Express 6 takes you to the site on the left side of the @. So in the above example, surprise, it actually takes you to Still, if youre reasonably skeptical of what you get in the mail and take reasonable precautions, youre probably safe from both of these problems. Unfortunately, not everyone is so careful. So expect to read on these pages soon about the poor folks who credulously clicked away and got taken. Its like watching an accident happen and youre powerless to stop it. Just be careful about where you go in that browser. Security Center Editor Larry Seltzer has worked in and written about the computer industry since 1983. More from Larry Seltzer

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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