Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

7/3/2008
05:48 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
50%
50%

Microsoft Readies Most Secure IE To Date

Next month, should Microsoft make good on its promises, Internet Explorer 8 will pack some considerable security enhancements. Could Microsoft deliver not only the most widely used Web browser, but also the most secure?

Next month, should Microsoft make good on its promises, Internet Explorer 8 will pack some considerable security enhancements. Could Microsoft deliver not only the most widely used Web browser, but also the most secure?In the fourth quarter of 2006, Microsoft released what was then a long-overdue update to IE6. It was IE7 that finally brought tabbed browsing to IE, which previously had only been available for Firefox users, as well as native RSS feeds. While I welcomed those usability enhancements, as a security guy, it was the security improvements that caught my attention. When it comes to sheer performance, Firefox 3 (at least on my Mac Pro) screams.

The security enhancements in IE7 included the ability to better spot phishing Web sites and a reduction in the attack surface of ActiveX. But it was "protected mode," a sort of wall setup between the browser and the underlying OS, that really sent IE7 security to an entirely new level. In protected mode, the browser is largely prevented from changing system settings and installing apps without user knowledge and approval. Unfortunately, protected mode was only made available to Vista users.

Next month, according to this story by J. Nicholas Hoover, IE8 will improve security against cross-site scripting attacks, which have been growing in popularity and make it possible for attackers to steal cookies, passwords, and just about anything the user types into the browser.

Internet Explorer 8 also will have what Microsoft is calling the SmartScreen Filter, an update to the phishing filter already available in IE7, which will include malware defenses. Both Firefox and Opera have similar features.

The Data Execution Prevention enhancements will help mitigate many memory-related attacks, including buffer overflows (the engine of many memory resident worms). This is very welcome protection against one of the most prevalent exploit vectors.

In all, the security enhancements in IE8 appear, at first blush, to be an improvement over the already tremendous improvements found in IE7 running on Vista in protected mode.

They also leapfrog over Mozilla's security enhancements in Firefox 3. For starters, the anti-phishing technology in Firefox 3, as pointed out earlier by Mitch Wagner, is woefully inadequate. The feature failed more than half the time in testing and could lull more neophyte users into a false sense of security.

We'll see how well Microsoft executes on its promises, hopefully, soon.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/25/2020
Hacking Yourself: Marie Moe and Pacemaker Security
Gary McGraw Ph.D., Co-founder Berryville Institute of Machine Learning,  9/21/2020
Startup Aims to Map and Track All the IT and Security Things
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/22/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15208
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, when determining the common dimension size of two tensors, TFLite uses a `DCHECK` which is no-op outside of debug compilation modes. Since the function always returns the dimension of the first tensor, malicious attackers can ...
CVE-2020-15209
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, a crafted TFLite model can force a node to have as input a tensor backed by a `nullptr` buffer. This can be achieved by changing a buffer index in the flatbuffer serialization to convert a read-only tensor to a read-write one....
CVE-2020-15210
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, if a TFLite saved model uses the same tensor as both input and output of an operator, then, depending on the operator, we can observe a segmentation fault or just memory corruption. We have patched the issue in d58c96946b and ...
CVE-2020-15211
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In TensorFlow Lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, saved models in the flatbuffer format use a double indexing scheme: a model has a set of subgraphs, each subgraph has a set of operators and each operator has a set of input/output tensors. The flatbuffer format uses indices f...
CVE-2020-15212
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In TensorFlow Lite before versions 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, models using segment sum can trigger writes outside of bounds of heap allocated buffers by inserting negative elements in the segment ids tensor. Users having access to `segment_ids_data` can alter `output_index` and then write to outside of `outpu...