Both Apple and Google have recently reported critical vulnerabilities in their systems—iOS and Chrome, respectively—that are ultimately the result of the same vulnerability in the libwebp library:
On Thursday, researchers from security firm Rezillion published evidence that they said made it “highly likely” both indeed stemmed from the same bug, specifically in libwebp, the code library that apps, operating systems, and other code libraries incorporate to process WebP images.
Rather than Apple, Google, and Citizen Lab coordinating and accurately reporting the common origin of the vulnerability, they chose to use a separate CVE designation, the researchers said. The researchers concluded that “millions of different applications” would remain vulnerable until they, too, incorporated the libwebp fix. That, in turn, they said, was preventing automated systems that developers use to track known vulnerabilities in their offerings from detecting a critical vulnerability that’s under active exploitation.
EDITED TO ADD (10/12): Google quietly corrected their disclosure.
Posted on September 27, 2023 at 7:08 AM •
North Korean hackers have been exploiting a zero-day in Chrome.
The flaw, tracked as CVE-2022-0609, was exploited by two separate North Korean hacking groups. Both groups deployed the same exploit kit on websites that either belonged to legitimate organizations and were hacked or were set up for the express purpose of serving attack code on unsuspecting visitors. One group was dubbed Operation Dream Job, and it targeted more than 250 people working for 10 different companies. The other group, known as AppleJeus, targeted 85 users.
The attackers made use of an exploit kit that contained multiple stages and components in order to exploit targeted users. The attackers placed links to the exploit kit within hidden iframes, which they embedded on both websites they owned as well as some websites they compromised.
Careful to protect their exploits, the attackers deployed multiple safeguards to make it difficult for security teams to recover any of the stages. These safeguards included:
- Only serving the iframe at specific times, presumably when they knew an intended target would be visiting the site.
- On some email campaigns the targets received links with unique IDs. This was potentially used to enforce a one-time-click policy for each link and allow the exploit kit to only be served once.
- The exploit kit would AES encrypt each stage, including the clients’ responses with a session-specific key.
- Additional stages were not served if the previous stage failed.
Although we recovered a Chrome RCE, we also found evidence where the attackers specifically checked for visitors using Safari on MacOS or Firefox (on any OS), and directed them to specific links on known exploitation servers. We did not recover any responses from those URLs.
If you’re a Chrome user, patch your system now.
Posted on March 31, 2022 at 6:13 AM •
A malicious Chrome extension surreptitiously steals Ethereum keys and passwords:
According to Denley, the extension is dangerous to users in two ways. First, any funds (ETH coins and ERC0-based tokens) managed directly inside the extension are at risk.
Denley says that the extension sends the private keys of all wallets created or managed through its interface to a third-party website located at erc20wallet[.]tk.
Another example of how blockchain requires many single points of trust in order to be secure.
Posted on January 3, 2020 at 6:09 AM •
Google has a new Chrome extension called “Password Alert”:
To help keep your account safe, today we’re launching Password Alert, a free, open-source Chrome extension that protects your Google and Google Apps for Work Accounts. Once you’ve installed it, Password Alert will show you a warning if you type your Google password into a site that isn’t a Google sign-in page. This protects you from phishing attacks and also encourages you to use different passwords for different sites, a security best practice.
Here’s how it works for consumer accounts. Once you’ve installed and initialized Password Alert, Chrome will remember a “scrambled” version of your Google Account password. It only remembers this information for security purposes and doesn’t share it with anyone. If you type your password into a site that isn’t a Google sign-in page, Password Alert will show you a notice like the one below. This alert will tell you that you’re at risk of being phished so you can update your password and protect yourself.
It’s a clever idea. Of course it’s not perfect, and doesn’t completely solve the problem. But it’s an easy security improvement, and one that should be generalized to non-Google sites. (Although it’s not uncommon for the security of many passwords to be tied to the security of the e-mail account.) It reminds me somewhat of cert pinning; in both cases, the browser uses independent information to verify what the network is telling it.
EDITED TO ADD: It’s not even a day old, and there’s an attack.
Posted on April 30, 2015 at 9:11 AM •
Nice idea, but I would like it to work for other browsers and other e-mail programs.
Posted on April 1, 2015 at 1:13 PM •
Good information on how Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox store user passwords.
Posted on January 3, 2015 at 7:08 AM •
This is not a good development:
To make matters worse, ownership of a Chrome extension can be transferred to another party, and users are never informed when an ownership change happens. Malware and adware vendors have caught wind of this and have started showing up at the doors of extension authors, looking to buy their extensions. Once the deal is done and the ownership of the extension is transferred, the new owners can issue an ad-filled update over Chrome’s update service, which sends the adware out to every user of that extension.
When malicious apps don’t follow Google’s disclosure policy, diagnosing something like this is extremely difficult. When Tweet This Page started spewing ads and malware into my browser, the only initial sign was that ads on the Internet had suddenly become much more intrusive, and many auto-played sound. The extension only started injecting ads a few days after it was installed in an attempt to make it more difficult to detect. After a while, Google search became useless, because every link would redirect to some other webpage. My initial thought was to take an inventory of every program I had installed recently—I never suspected an update would bring in malware. I ran a ton of malware/virus scanners, and they all found nothing. I was only clued into the fact that Chrome was the culprit because the same thing started happening on my Chromebook—if I didn’t notice that, the next step would have probably been a full wipe of my computer.
Posted on January 21, 2014 at 6:33 AM •
Google’s contest at the CanSecWest conference:
Today we’re announcing our third Pwnium competitionPwnium 3. Google Chrome is already featured in the Pwn2Own competition this year, so Pwnium 3 will have a new focus: Chrome OS.
We’ll issue Pwnium 3 rewards for Chrome OS at the following levels, up to a total of $3.14159 million USD:
- $110,000: browser or system level compromise in guest mode or as a logged-in user, delivered via a web page.
- $150,000: compromise with device persistence—guest to guest with interim reboot, delivered via a web page.
We believe these larger rewards reflect the additional challenge involved with tackling the security defenses of Chrome OS, compared to traditional operating systems.
Posted on February 7, 2013 at 6:35 AM •
An analysis of extensions to the Chrome browser shows that 25% of them are insecure:
We reviewed 100 Chrome extensions and found that 27 of the 100 extensions leak all of their privileges to a web or WiFi attacker. Bugs in extensions put users at risk by leaking private information (like passwords and history) to web and WiFi attackers. Web sites may be evil or contain malicious content from users or advertisers. Attackers on public WiFi networks (like in coffee shops and airports) can change all HTTP content.
Posted on September 29, 2011 at 7:07 AM •
Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.