Thursday, April 27, 2006

Google Puts Money Behind Firefox Movement

Google has unveiled a new plan to spread the open-source Firefox Internet browser, starting off a new phase in the browser wars with Microsoft. An offer from the Internet search giant enables Web sites to run small ads promoting Firefox and gain a referral fee of one dollar for every downloaded version of Firefox that has a Google toolbar.
Google launched the new program Wednesday evening by running an ad for the first time on its usually ad-free home page. The campaign also represents the first time Google has offered a financial incentive for the adoption of Firefox.

Even without such help, the open source browser has steadily been gnawing away at the dominance of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser since 2004.

From a market share high of 95 percent, Internet Explorer is now down to 85 percent, as web surfers discover the smooth delights of Firefox, which offers better security and powerful features, including tabbed browsing, which allow you to open multiple windows in a single browser, and "autofill" which automatically completes form applications.

Google already employs some of the key team members contributing to Firefox and its latest initiative underlines its desire to kept Firefox's momentum building. "Google is getting serious about Firefox, and has given the upstart browser one of the most powerful marketing tools on the Internet -- a spot on the Google homepage," commented the respected Ars Technica Web site.

But Microsoft does not plan to let the erosion of its market share continue. Earlier in the week the software giant launched a new trial version of its Internet Explorer browser that, in addition to beefing up its notoriously vulnerable security, has also copied all of Firefox's best features.

Analysts say that the new browser gives Internet Explorer users a reason not to convert to Firefox. "I think IE 7 brings the browser to parity with Firefox in terms of features, and the security's a big improvement over IE 6," said Matt Rosoff, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft. "I think it will be good enough to stop some of IE's market share loss to Firefox."

But despite the upgrades, you are unlikely to see many Firefox fans switching back to Microsoft.

"Yesterday's browser -- tomorrow," is how the influential Web site announced the new product.

Other players like

Story Continued

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Firefox Bug Could Be Serious

A security firm fears that a zero-day vulnerability in a fully-patched and most-current version of Mozilla Corp.'s Firefox could be exploited.

A zero-day vulnerability in a fully-patched and most-current version of Mozilla Corp.'s Firefox could be exploited to crash the browser at the least, and at the worst, possibly introduce malicious code, a security company warned Tuesday.

The bug, which first appeared on Mozilla's Bugzilla listing a week ago on April 18, could be used by an attacker to crash Firefox by feeding it malformed JavaScript code.

Proof of concept code has been made public that crashes Firefox, the open-source browser's newest edition.

Although Danish vulnerability tracker Secunia ranked the threat as "low," its weakest warning, U.S.-based security vendor Symantec said the danger may be more dire.

"It does appear that triggering the vulnerability using the proof of concept results in the execution of data somewhere in anonymous memory, possibly in a portion of the heap," Symantec told customers of its DeepSight threat alert system Tuesday. "If this memory were somehow populated by an attacker with a malicious payload, this condition could likely be exploited to execute arbitrary code."

Firefox developers have come up with a patch -- one is listed in the Bugzilla report -- but has not been pushed out to users. Typically, Mozilla releases Firefox updates that include several security patches as it did recently when it rolled out version with fixes for 24 bugs.

JavaScript-based vulnerabilities aren't new to Firefox -- nor to its rival, Internet Explorer. Several of the flaws fixed in the April 14 release of Firefox, for instance


Friday, April 14, 2006

Mozilla Fixes 24 Bugs In Firefox

Most of the bugs were marked "critical," including several that could be exploited by attackers simply by duping users into visiting malicious Web sites.

Mozilla Corp. late Thursday updated its Firefox browser to patch a mega-batch of 24 vulnerabilities, the bulk of them tagged "critical."

Just days after rival Microsoft fixed 10 bugs in its Internet Explorer, Mozilla unveiled Firefox, which included 7 patches, 5 of them critical. It also unveiled 11 new patches for the older Firefox 1.5, 15 for the even older Firefox 1.0x line in an update numbered 1.0.8, and 19 in the Sea Monkey browser suite, the replacement for the now-defunct Mozilla suite. (Note: Tallies exceed the total of 18 patches because some were applied to more than one version.)

Danish vulnerability tracker Secunia tagged the overall updates -- to Firefox and 1.08, and Sea Monkey 1.0.1 -- as "Highly critical," its second-from-the-top ranking. That ranking was the same as Secunia awarded Tuesday's 10-bug patch for IE.

Among the bugs reported in Firefox are several which could be exploited by attackers simply by duping users into visiting malicious Web sites. Many are in one way or another associated with JavaScript.

Mozilla also said it had fixed a slew of bugs that could crash the browser, some of which could conceivably be used by attackers to hijack computers. The for-profit arm of the Mozilla Foundation, however, wasn't clear on the details.


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