Highly Critical Firefox Vulnerabilities Emerge

By Matthew Hines  |  Posted 2008-07-02 Print this article Print

Mozilla has released a scad of security bulletins outlining many new vulnerabilities discovered in its Firefox browser. All users of the software have been advised to download an updated version to protect their machines against potential exploitation.

Rated en masse by researchers at Secunia as "highly critical" (4 out of 5 on its scale of severity), the dozen newly unearthed flaws could leave users exposed to everything from cross-site scripting attacks to spoofing and exposure of sensitive or system information, with the potential for remote execution. Denial-of-service attacks are yet another possibility, the researchers reported.

Successful exploitation would require that a user be tricked into downloading and then opening a malicious Windows URL shortcut.

Thankfully for Mozilla, a detailed report that was published by respected vulnerability researchers from Google, IBM and the CENL July 1 found that an impressive 83.3 percent of Firefox users have typically updated to the latest version of the browser, which certainly does help keep people protected from potential exploitation.

The listed issues specifically exist in versions of Firefox 2.0 prior to the newly released 2.0.015 iteration of the program.

According to the security bulletins, the problems could explicitly lead to:

1) Multiple errors in the layout and JavaScript engines can be exploited to corrupt memory.

2) An error in the handling of unprivileged XUL documents can be exploited to load Chrome scripts from a "fastload" file via "script" elements.

3) An error in the "mozIJSSubScriptLoader.LoadScript()" function can be exploited to bypass XPCNativeWrappers and run arbitrary code with Chrome privileges.

Successful exploitation requires that an add-on using the affected function be installed.

4) An error in the block reflow process can be exploited to cause a crash or potentially execute arbitrary code.

5) An error in the processing of file URLs contained within local directory listings can potentially be exploited to execute malicious JavaScript content.

6) Multiple errors in the implementation of the JavaScript same-origin policy can be exploited to execute arbitrary script code in the context of a different domain.

7) Multiple errors in the verification of signed JAR files can be exploited to execute arbitrary JavaScript code with the privileges of the JAR's signer.

8) An error in the implementation of file upload forms can be exploited to upload arbitrary local files to a remote Web server via specially crafted "DOM Range" and "originalTarget" elements.

9) An error in the Java LiveConnect implementation on Mac OS X can be exploited to establish arbitrary socket connections.

10) An uninitialized memory access in the processing of improperly encoded ".properties" files can potentially be exploited to disclose sensitive memory via an add-on using the malformed file.

11) An error in the processing of "Alt Names" provided by "peer" trusted certificates can be exploited to conduct spoofing attacks.

12) An error in the processing of Windows URL shortcuts can be exploited to run a remote site as a local file.

So, update your browsers promptly, as the malware-making crowds are sure to already be looking into these issues to craft a slew of related attacks.

Happy surfing! (Does anyone actually say "Web surfing" anymore?)

Matt Hines has been following the IT industry for over a decade as a reporter and blogger, and has been specifically focused on the security space since 2003, including a previous stint writing for eWEEK and contributing to the Security Watch blog. Hines is currently employed as marketing communications manager at Core Security Technologies, a Boston-based maker of security testing software. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Core Security, and neither the company, nor its products and services will be actively discussed in the blog. Please send news, research or tips to SecurityWatchBlog@gmail.com.

del.icio.us | digg.com

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel