Linked by Kroc Camen on Sat 17th Oct 2009 05:27 UTC
Microsoft Whilst it's not okay in Microsoft's eyes for Google to install a plugin into Internet Explorer, increasing the potential surface area of attack, when Microsoft do it to Firefox, it's a different matter. Now a security hole has been found in a plugin that Microsoft have been silently installing into Firefox.
Thread beginning with comment 389767
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE: Opt-in
by flanque on Sat 17th Oct 2009 08:57 UTC in reply to "Opt-in"
flanque
Member since:
2005-12-15

I think the problem here is that these malware authors are very tricky. They figure out ways to slip things in without users noticing. I think Mozilla should add as much as possible, but I am wondering whether the issue at hand is not as much that the plugin is installed (it's a concern yes), but what the plugin can do.

Why not focus on controlling / auditing what the plugins do at the user level. For example, if it tries to write to disk alert the user, if it tries to remotely connect to a website, alert the user.

Control not only getting the plugin in the browser, but also add safe-guards to what it does once it's there.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Opt-in
by moondevil on Sat 17th Oct 2009 09:31 in reply to "RE: Opt-in"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

This exactly one reason why regardless of your OS, you might be easily owned.

Sure it is harder to get Virus and other type of malaware deployed in MacOS X, Linux and other systems. But if your browser gets owned, you might just say goodbye to your data. Remeber the browser has full rights to access all files with your user rights.

Just because you stay away of Windows, don't think that you are safe.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Opt-in
by mrAmiga500 on Sat 17th Oct 2009 12:49 in reply to "RE[2]: Opt-in"
mrAmiga500 Member since:
2009-03-20

This exactly one reason why regardless of your OS, you might be easily owned.

Sure it is harder to get Virus and other type of malaware deployed in MacOS X, Linux and other systems. But if your browser gets owned, you might just say goodbye to your data. Remeber the browser has full rights to access all files with your user rights.

Just because you stay away of Windows, don't think that you are safe.


I think when I browse with my Amiga 500 I'm pretty safe. I dare anybody to try to "own" me and steal my files. ;)

You're right though and I think this is a shameful situation. I remember when browsers just displayed text and images - and that's all. There was no way to hack into the OS. Now, browsers are getting too complex and adding too many features that become security risks. I like handy new features, but not if there is any chance it gives away control of MY computer.

I don't ever want software being installed without my permission. I don't ever want software to connect to the internet without my permission. I don't even like it when software accesses the hard drive when I didn't ask it to do anything. We're losing control and are now at the mercy of software instead of being in charge.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Opt-in
by Kroc on Sat 17th Oct 2009 10:32 in reply to "RE: Opt-in"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Plugins are native code, there's no auditing that can really be done other than by your AV spotting this behaviour. The plugin interface just provides a means for the native code to load and to paint back to the browser.

Chrome and Safari on Snow Leopard place plugins on their own thread and in a sandboxed environment, which helps; but ultimately the whole nature of plugins is completely flawed and unsafe from the get-go.

Mozilla also can't outright block these things from being installed because the OS vetos the browser. Id est, any software running on the computer can manipulate any aspect of the browser to fool it into accepting a plugin, circumventing any protection Mozilla put in place.

That said, I feel Mozilla should take a firm stance and beef up how they handle plugins and things installing into the browser so that the user has complete control. They need to make managing plugins as easy as extensions.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Opt-in
by Erunno on Sat 17th Oct 2009 10:49 in reply to "RE[2]: Opt-in"
Erunno Member since:
2007-06-22

Chrome and Safari on Snow Leopard place plugins on their own thread and in a sandboxed environment, which helps; but ultimately the whole nature of plugins is completely flawed and unsafe from the get-go.


Actually, both run plug-ins in separate processes and not threads. Chrome does not use a sandbox for them as Google encountered too many compatibility problems to be turned on by default. To lessen the attack area at least somewhat Google lets the process which does the IPC run with minimal rights. While the plug-in can still wreck havoc this way at least Chrome itself is somewhat secured.

Edited 2009-10-17 10:52 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4