Firefox tries again for URI fix

Mozilla has released Firefox 2.0.0.8, fixing another URI protocol handler issue.

Mozilla has released a critical security update to Firefox, taking a third shot at patching bugs in the way the browser can be used to launch programs from Web links.

The bug, rated 'moderate' by Mozilla, lies in the URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) protocol handling technology that is used to launch programs -- an e-mail client for example -- from within the browser. Over the past few months, security researchers have been discovering an increasing number of ways that this technology can be misused, often as a way to install unauthorized software on a victim's computer.

The URI patch is one of eight security bug-fixes that Mozilla has pushed out with the 2.0.0.8 update, released late Thursday.

Mozilla developers originally thought that the issue lay within Microsoft's Internet Explorer software, which could be invoked in a malicious fashion via Firefox. Several days after issuing their first patch, however, they realized that there was a problem with Firefox as well, and rushed out the 2.0.0.6 update.

Now, three months after that fix, they've patched another URI bug in Firefox that will cut down on the likelihood of programs being launched maliciously through the browser. The 2.0.0.6 release "did not prevent the incorrect file-handling programs from launching which left some risk," Mozilla said in its advisory. "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."

Mozilla developers weren't certain that this latest twist on the URI problem could really be exploited in Firefox, but they decided to issue this latest URI patch rather than wait to find out for certain, said Window Snyder, Mozilla's security chief. "We could just say this particular vector is not an issue because we do not have proof," she wrote in an e-mail. "We could leave it alone. Rather than spend our time analyzing whether this is a vector that could be vulnerable we would rather put the block in place and eliminate the possibility. This is a defense-in-depth measure."

Microsoft has said that it plans to patch underlying components in the Windows operating system, in an effort to prevent URI protocol handler attacks, and that will probably go a long way in preventing new attacks from cropping up, said Andrew Storms, director of security operations, with nCircle Network Security. "We have to applaud the Mozilla team for attempting to protect their users, but in the end it's going to be a Microsoft responsibility," he said.

Of the eight vulnerabilities patched Thursday, two are rated critical by Mozilla.

The 2.0.0.8 release also adds support for Apple's Mac OS X 10.5 operating system, code-named Leopard, although Mozilla warns "there are some known issues affecting some media plugins," on this platform.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?