Disclaimer

Any opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of my employer (I'm self-employed).

Oct 22, 2011

Update Java — or just remove it

Oracle recently released an update to its Java software, fixing more than 20 critical security issues in the software. Krebs has a good post on the update, briefly discussing the vulnerabilities and the fact that Java vulnerabilities are exploited for real.

I have to say that in recent years I've installed Java more due to habit than because of an actual need for the software. So when I got the update bubble in the corner of my screen, I figured "of course". I knew they, among other things,  fixed the same-origin-policy bypass used in the BEAST attack (You'll find a straight forward explanation of the Java vulnerability here, and links to resources on BEAST here). So I started the update process, and this was one of the first screens I was presented.

Oct 9, 2011

A Google 2-step verification vulnerability

Early this year Google started rolling out their new two-factor authentication procedure, which they refer to as 2-step verification. On their corporate blog they provided a few hints on why they were rolling out a new authentication procedure — mentioning risks associated with password reuse and phishing attacks. 2-step verification is now widely deployed, by June it was available in 150 countries, and in 40 different languages.

Of course, I took interest in how the two-step verification was designed and I discovered a couple of design issues. In addition I discovered a security flaw that qualified for Google's vulnerability reward program, so I engaged in a responsible disclosure process with Google. Now they've fixed the bug, my reward has been donated to charity, and I've received my 19 bytes of fame, so I guess it's time to blog about this. I'll focus on the security bug here, and blog about the design issues later. I need to do some investigation to see whether Google fixed any of them or not, as they reported that they were re-evaluating some of their design decisions.

If you're unfamiliar with how the two-step verification works, see Google's video below (borrowed from Getting started with 2-step verification).



Now, straight to the point.

Oct 8, 2011

Making the web even safer: From auto-upgrade to silent updates

Mozilla now aims to add silent updates to Firefox — much like Chrome and Opera already does — as summarized in this Computerworld article. This marks an important milestone, and is an important follow up to Mozilla's decision back in June to auto-upgrade the then soon-to-be unsupported Firefox 3.5. Back then, I blogged about the importance of the bold decision to NOT leave users behind on an unsupported version.

Later in June when Firefox 5 was released, Firefox 4 users where prompted to update to the new version. I was so excited, I had to blog about that too.

Now Mozilla has decided to introduce silent updates to Firefox. From Mitchell Baker's blog we can learn that:
Before Mozilla instituted the rapid release process, we would sometimes have new capabilities ready for nearly a year before we could deliver them to people.  Web developers would have to wait that year to be able to make their applications better.
And why is that a problem?
A browser is the delivery vehicle for the Internet. And the Internet moves very, very quickly.

Copyright notice

© André N. Klingsheim and www.dotnetnoob.com, 2009-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to André N. Klingsheim and www.dotnetnoob.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Read other popular posts