Chrome’s current “Canary” build — the label for very-early versions of the browser, earlier than even Chrome’s Dev channel — will post a warning at the bottom of the window when it detects an attempted download of malicious code.
Features added to the Canary build usually, although not always, eventually make it into the Dev channel — the roughest-edged of the three distributed to users — and from there into the Beta and Stable channels. Google did not spell out a timetable for the expanded malware blocking.
Chrome has included malware blocking for more than two years, since version 12 launched in June 2011, and the functionality was extended in February 2012with Chrome 17.
Chrome is now at version 30.
Canary’s blocking, however, is more aggressive on two fronts: It is more assertive in its alerts and detects more malware forms, including threats that pose as legitimate software and monkey with the browser’s settings.
“Content.exe is malicious, and Chrome has blocked it,” the message in Canary reads. The sole visible option is to click the “Dismiss” button, which makes the warning vanish. The only additional option, and that only after another click, is to “Learn more,” which leads to yet another warning.
In Canary, there is no way for the user to contradict the malware blocking.
That’s different than in the current Stable build of Chrome, which relies on a message that says, “This file is malicious. Are you sure you want to continue?” and gives the user a choice between tossing the downloaded file or saving it anyway.
As it has for some time, Chrome will show such warnings on select file extensions, primarily “.exe,” which in Windows denotes an executable file, and “.msi,” an installation package for Windows applications. Canary’s expansion, said Google, also warns when the user tries to download some less obvious threats, including payloads masquerading as legitimate software — it cited screen savers and video plug-ins in a blog posting — that hijack browser settings to silently change the home page or insert ads into websites to monetize the malware.
Google’s malware blocking is part of its Safe Browsing API (application programming interface) and service, which Chrome, Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox all access to warn customers of potentially dangerous websites before they reach them.
In Chrome’s case, the malware warning stems not only from the Safe Browsing “blacklist” of dodgy websites, but according to NSS Labs, a security software testing company, also from the Content Agnostic Malware Protection (CAMP) technology that Google has baked into its implementation of Safe Browsing.
Security firms are urging users of Oracle’s Java 6 software to upgrade to Java 7 as soon as possible to avoid becoming the victims of active cyber attacks.
F-secure senior analyst Timo Hirvonen warned about the exploit this weekend over Twitter, advising that he had found an exploit in the wild actively targeting an unpatched vulnerability in Java 6, named CVE-2013-2463.
PoC for CVE-2013-2463 was released last week, now it’s exploited in the wild. No patch for JRE6… Uninstall or upgrade to JRE7 update 25.
— Timo Hirvonen (@TimoHirvonen) August 26, 2013
CVE-2013-2463 was addressed by Oracle in the June 2013 Critical Patch Update for Java 7. Java 6 has the same vulnerability, as Oracle acknowledged in the update, but since Java 6 became unsupported in April 2013, there is no patch for the Java 6 vulnerability.
Cloud security provider Qualys described the bug as an “implicit zero-day vulnerability”. The firm’s CTO Wolfgang Kandek said he had seen it included in the spreading Neutrino exploit kit threat, which “guarantees that it will find widespread adoption”.
“We know about its existence, but do not have a patch at hand,” Kandek said in a blog post. “This happens each time a software package loses support and we track these instances in Qualysguard with our ‘EOL/Obsolete’ detections, in this case.
“In addition, we still see very high rates of Java 6 installed, a bit over 50 percent, which means many organisations are vulnerable.”
Like F-secure, Kandek recommended that any users with Java 6 upgrade to Java 7 as soon as they can.
“Without doubt, organisations should update to Java 7 where possible, meaning that IT administrators need to verify with their vendors if an upgrade path exists,” he added.
Following the outbreak of the Flashback Mac Trojan, security researchers have identified two more cases of Mac OS X malware. The good news is most Mac owners have little reason to worry about them.
Both cases are variants on the same Trojan, called SabPub, Kaspersky Lab Expert Costin Raiu wrote on Securelist.
The first variant is known as Backdoor.OSX.SabPub.a. Like Flashback, this new threat was likely spread through Java exploits on Websites, and allows for remote control of affected systems. It was created roughly one month ago.
Fortunately, this malware isn’t a threat to most users for a few reasons: It may have only been used in targeted attacks, Raiu wrote, with links to malicious Websites sent via e-mail, and the domain used to fetch instructions for infected Macs has since been shut down.
Furthermore, Apple’s security update for Flashback helps render future Java-based attacks harmless. In addition to removing the Flashback malware, the update automatically deactivates the Java browser plug-in and Java Web Start if they remain unused for 35 days. Users must then manually re-enable Java when they encounter applets on a Web page or a Web Start application.
The second SabPub variant is old-school compared to its sibling. Instead of attacking through malicious Websites, it uses infected Microsoft Word documents as vector, distributed by e-mail.
Chrome for Android will not run Flash Player, the popular software that Apple has famously banned, Adobe confirmed Wednesday.
The acknowledgment was no surprise: Last November, Adobe announced it was abandoning development of Flash for mobile browsers. In other words, Google missed the Flash boat by several months.
“Adobe is no longer developing Flash Player for mobile browsers, and thus Chrome for Android Beta does not support Flash content,” said Bill Howard, a group product manager on the Flash team, in an Adobe blog Tuesday.
The stock Android browser included with the operating system does support Flash, noted Howard.
Adobe explained its decision to halt work on Flash Player for mobile browsers as necessary to shift resources, notably to its efforts on HTML5, the still-developing standard that will ultimately replace many of the functions Flash has offered.
“We will continue to leverage our experience with Flash to accelerate our work with the W3C and WebKit to bring similar capabilities to HTML5 as quickly as possible,” Danny Winokur, the Adobe executive in charge of interactive development, said last year. He was referring to the World Wide Web Consortium standards body and WebKit, the open-source browser engine that powers Chrome and Apple’s Safari. “And we will design new features in Flash for a smooth transition to HTML5 as the standards evolve.”
Analysts read the move as a tacit surrender to the trend, first seen at Apple, to skip support for Flash on smartphones and tablets. In 2010, former Apple Steve Jobs had famously dismissed Flash as unsuitable for mobile devices because it was slow, drained batteries and posed security problems.
An unpatched Yahoo Messenger vulnerability that allows hackers to change people’s status messages and possibly perform other unauthorized functons can be exploited to spam malicious links to a large number of users.
The flaw was discovered in the wild by security researchers from antivirus vendor BitDefender while investigating a customer’s report about unusual Yahoo Messenger behavior.
The flaw appears to be located in the application’s file transfer API (application programming interface) and allows attackers to send malformed requests that result in the execution of commands without any interaction from victims.
“An attacker can write a script in less than 50 lines of code to malform the message sent via the YIM protocol to the attacker,” said Bogdan Botezatu, an e-threats analysis & communication specialist at BitDefender.
“Status changing appears to be only one of the things the attacker can abuse. We’re currently investigating what other things they may achieve,” he added.
Victims are unlikely to realize that their status messages have changed and if they use version 11.5 of Yahoo Messenger, which supports tabbed conversations, they might not even spot the rogue requests, Botezatu said.
This vulnerability can be leveraged by attackers to earn money through affiliate marketing schemes by driving traffic to certain websites or to spam malicious links that point to drive-by download pages.
Apple has failed to fix a bug in its Mac OS X operating system that allows processes to bypass the sandbox protection in place.
The flaw was discovered by Anibal Sacco and Matias Eissler from Core Security Technologies. They let Apple know about the problem on 20 September, and while Apple acknowledged their submission, it said that it did not see any security threat, forcing the Core Security Technologies team to publish the report to the public this month.
The problem appears to be with the use of Apple events in several default profiles, including the no-network and no-internet ones. When Apple events are dispatched a process can escape the sandbox, which could be exploited by hackers.
The vulnerability could lead to a compromised application restricted by the use of the no-network profile gaining access to network resources through the use of Apple events to execute other applications that are not restricted by the sandbox, making it a significant security threat.
Only the more recent versions of Mac OS X are vulnerable to this bug, including 10.5.x, 10.6.x, and 10.7.x. Those using 10.4.x are safe from the exploit.
Motorola announced on Twitter that the Android software update for the Xoom tablet is being pushed out in phases starting March 11, which includes enhancements to support the upcoming Adobe Flash Player 10.2.
Launched on February 24, the Xoom was pushed out to the market with some seemingly rushed, half done features, just so it arrived on the market before a new iPad. Despite certain hardware advantages over the original and new iPad, the Xoom flaunted 4G radios, SD card memory expansion and Flash support. However, none of these features were actually operational when the device launched. Read More….
About eight out of every ten internet browsers run by consumers are vulnerable to attack by exploits of already-patched bugs, a security expert said today.
The poor state of browser patching stunned Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of security risk and compliance management provider Qualys, which presented data from the company’s free BrowserCheck service Wednesday at the RSA Conference in San Francisco.
“I really thought it would be lower,” said Kandek of the nearly 80% of browsers that lacked one or more patches.
BrowserCheck scans Windows, Mac and Linux machines for vulnerable browsers, as well as up to 18 browser plug-ins, including Adobe’s Flash and Reader, Oracle’s Java and Microsoft’s Silverlight and Windows Media Player.
When browsers and their plug-ins are tabulated together, between 90% and 65% of all consumer systems scanned with BrowserCheck since June 2010 reported at least one out-of-date component, depending on the month. In January 2011, about 80% of the machines were vulnerable. Read more….