Firefox 14 gets kudos for security

By Antone Gonsalves, CSO |  Networking, Firefox, security

Security experts are praisingç the improvements in the latest version of Firefox, which fixes a total of 14 vulnerabilities, five critical, and adds three security-related features.

One of the most important patches in Firefox 14, released this week by Mozilla, is one that fixes a flaw within the sandbox, where the Web browser executes JavaScript, a common exploit by hackers. The vulnerability enabled an attacker to run scripts outside the sandbox with elevated privileges.

Running scripts found on web pages in sandboxes is a trend among makers of browsers. The special containers limit applications to accessing only the services they need.

The Firefox patch is important because hackers have been focusing on finding holes in sandboxes, Wolfgang Kandek, chief technology officer of Qualys, said. "People are testing their boundaries and how they can escape those boundaries," he said.

Another critical patch fixes a flaw that would allow a hacker to bypass the browsers same-compartment security wrappers, or SCSW. The feature prevents a web page from executing code outside of the page's context.

Restraints placed on code execution in a browser, or operating system, is favored by security experts. "It's a preventive measure rather than a reactive one," Kandek said.

The other three critical patches fix vulnerabilities related to data leakage, memory corruption and "miscellaneous memory safety hazards." Along with the five critical fixes, Mozilla released four patches with a high priority, and listed five as moderate.

None of the vulnerabilities had been exploited in the wild, and all are fixed through Firefox's automatic update feature, which pushes out patches without the user getting involved. However, businesses can bypass the feature and deploy patches manually.

[See also:ç 10 ways to secure browsing in the enterprise]

The latest patches did not reflect any lapse in security on the part of Mozilla, Marcus Carey, security researcher for Radid7, said. "The vulnerabilities they patched are definitely serious, but I don't see anything that jumps out at me," he said. "There's nothing in the wild right now that I'm aware of."

Overall, Mozilla has stayed on top of security, Kandek said. "They're doing great work in the security area."


Originally published on CSO |  Click here to read the original story.
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