Critical PNG Flaw Haunts Netscape

A previously reported image handling vulnerability is discovered in new versions of AOL's Netscape browser.

America Online Inc.s efforts to kick-start renewed interest in its Netscape browser got off to a rocky start with researchers warning of a "highly critical" flaw that could lead to remote code execution.

Just 24 hours after AOL unveiled a new Netscape prototype, Sun Microsystems Inc. issued an advisory for multiple vulnerabilities in the way the browser handles PNG (portable network graphic) images.

The bug, which affects Netscape 7.x, is directly related to the previously reported buffer overflows in the PNG Library (libpng) that is used to manipulate PNG files.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about the flaws in the PNG library.

Sun said the flaw puts Netscape users at risk of remote code execution attacks.

"This condition can be exploited when the local user has loaded a Portable Network Graphics (PNG) format image file supplied by an untrusted user and views a malicious web site or views an e-mail message containing a malformed PNG image with that application," according to the Sun advisory.

The affected Netscape 7 is shipped in Suns Solaris 9. It was also available for Solaris 7, 8 and 9 as part of the SUNWnsb package, Sun said.

Independent research firm Secunia rates the issue as "highly critical" and recommends users use another browser until a patch is made available.

AOL spokesman Andrew Weinstein declined to comment until the company has time to investigate the Sun advisory.

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