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Risk

5/8/2008
08:09 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
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Firefox Provides Increased Security Over Internet Explorer? Not So Much.

It's been reported that the Firefox Web browser has been distributing a Trojan horse application with the Vietnamese language pack. No one is sure how many users may have unwittingly downloaded the malware.

It's been reported that the Firefox Web browser has been distributing a Trojan horse application with the Vietnamese language pack. No one is sure how many users may have unwittingly downloaded the malware.The fix is easy. Anyone who has downloaded the Firefox Vietnamese language pack since Feb. 18, 2008, should run a full-system antivirus scan and disable the plug-in. Make sure the AV engine can spot a critter called Trojan.Win32.Xorer.

In this blog entry by The Washington Post's Brian Krebs, he quoted Mozilla's chief security officer, Window Snyder, as saying that the Trojan "usually results in the user seeing unwanted ads, but may be used for more malicious actions."

Answering how this malware, despite Mozilla conducting virus scans of all add-ons uploaded to its servers, got so far through the distribution channel isn't so easy. And Snyders' seemingly careless attitude in this Macworld story is downright frightening.

Snyder did not know exactly how the adware code was added, but she said that this kind of problem could affect any software provider -- open source or not. "In most software development environments the developers aren't kept in a dark cave," she said. "They browse the Web or take those laptops to a coffee shop "

"It's just a fact of life," she added.

Maybe so. But that doesn't mean that there shouldn't be better checks in place to catch such incidents. We all deserve it. And we all certainly deserve more than such a casual attitude with this sort of breach of trust.

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