Mozilla fixes 10 Firefox flaws, makes it Leopard-ready

It beefs up protection against Windows' URI bug, too

Mozilla late last week updated its open-source Firefox browser to patch 10 bugs in Firefox, including three rated as critical, and released the refreshed versions for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

The new Firefox 2.0.0.8 is also compatible with Mac OS X 10.5, a.k.a. Leopard, Mozilla said. However, some issues remain under the new operating system, which is set to go on sale at the end of the week, including problems with some media player plug-ins.

Danish vulnerability tracker Secunia rated the package of patches as "highly critical" overall and noted that the critical bugs allow code execution, which means attackers could insert their own malicious software into systems running unpatched Firefox software.

Mozilla also revisited a July patch to prop up Firefox against attacks that leverage the Universal Resource Identifier (URI) flaw in Windows that Microsoft finally acknowledged last week.

"That [July patch] did not prevent the incorrect file-handling programs from launching, which left some risk," Mozilla said in a mea culpa advisory pinned to the new repair. "An additional fix has been applied to Firefox 2.0.0.8 that detects when Windows would mishandle these URIs so that the wrong program does not get launched."

Unlike Microsoft, Mozilla owned up to flaws in Firefox this summer when news first broke of vulnerabilities in how some applications passed invalid URIs to Windows and how Windows then executed those URIs. Mozilla patched Firefox twice in July, for example, to plug URI holes.

In addition to security, Version 2.0.0.8 adds two new localized language editions, for Georgian and Romanian, and it has been tweaked to work with Leopard. Mozilla spelled out several "known issues" with the browser when it is run in Mac OS X 10.5, however, including problems associated with an unknown number of media plug-ins, trouble rendering Flash content on Intel-powered Macs, and incorrect items displayed in the Add-ons dialog box.

Firefox 2.0.0.8 can be download from the Mozilla site; current users can update Firefox by using the browser's automated service.

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Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
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