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.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

4/13/2012
02:12 PM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Firefox To Require Permission For Plug-Ins

Mozilla hopes to make Firefox more secure by having users opt in for plug-ins.

Mozilla engineers are in the process of improving the security and speed of Firefox by implementing a permission switch for browser plug-ins.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Mozilla software engineer Jared Wein said that browser plug-ins are often the cause of security problems and system slowdowns and that "click-to-play" code has been added to Firefox nightly developer builds to control the activation of plug-ins.

"When plugins.click_to_play is enabled, plug-ins will require an extra click to activate and start 'playing' content," Wein explains. "This is an incremental step towards securing our users, reducing memory usage, and opening up the Web."

[ Read about Amazon's cloud-based search service. See Amazon Returns To Search Business With CloudSearch. ]

It may also further erode the usage of plug-in technologies such as Adobe Flash on desktop computers. In a Twitter post, privacy researcher Christopher Soghoian notes that the move "essentially kills Flash ads and Flash cookie tracking."

The impact of this new Firefox feature will depend on how it is expressed in default settings and on the various use cases that Firefox engineers end up supporting. For example, the click-to-play feature may include options to allow users to avoid having to reauthorize plug-ins on popular sites like YouTube. Mozilla does not want to make Firefox so secure it's a hassle to use. However, such conveniences could undermine potential security and privacy benefits of requiring users to approve plug-in operation.

Google Chrome has for a while now included a similar permission mechanism for plug-ins, accessed via Settings/Under the Hood/Privacy-Content Settings/Plug-ins. But Chrome's engineers evidently believe that users will have a better experience without having to approve plug-ins: "Run automatically" is singled out as the "recommended" option.

Mozilla is also considering whether to let previously granted plug-in approval expire if the plug-in has not been used in the past 30 days.

Apple recently adopted this expiration date approach to deal with the Flashback trojan that has affected over 600,000 Macs. In its security update released on Thursday, Apple said, "As a security hardening measure, the Java browser plug-in and Java Web Start are deactivated if they are unused for 35 days."

"Click-to-play" for plug-ins is scheduled to arrive in Firefox 14.

When picking endpoint protection software, step one is to ask users what they think. Also in the new, all-digital Security Software: Listen Up! issue of InformationWeek: CIO Chad Fulgham gives us an exclusive look at the agency's new case management system, Sentinel; and a look at how LTE changes mobility. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Bprince
50%
50%
Bprince,
User Rank: Ninja
4/14/2012 | 2:22:32 PM
re: Firefox To Require Permission For Plug-Ins
@readers: do you think this will have a positive impact on plugin security, and do you see it hurting the use of plugins overall?
Brian Prince, InformationWeek/Dark Reading Comment Moderator
Commentary
Ransomware Is Not the Problem
Adam Shostack, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Technologist, Game Designer,  6/9/2021
Edge-DRsplash-11-edge-ask-the-experts
How Can I Test the Security of My Home-Office Employees' Routers?
John Bock, Senior Research Scientist,  6/7/2021
News
New Ransomware Group Claiming Connection to REvil Gang Surfaces
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  6/10/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This gives a new meaning to blind leading the blind.
Current Issue
The State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
In this report learn how enterprises are building their incident response teams and processes, how they research potential compromises, how they respond to new breaches, and what tools and processes they use to remediate problems and improve their cyber defenses for the future.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-30550
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-15
Use after free in Accessibility in Google Chrome prior to 91.0.4472.101 allowed an attacker who convinced a user to install a malicious extension to potentially exploit heap corruption via a crafted HTML page.
CVE-2021-30551
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-15
Type confusion in V8 in Google Chrome prior to 91.0.4472.101 allowed a remote attacker to potentially exploit heap corruption via a crafted HTML page.
CVE-2021-30552
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-15
Use after free in Extensions in Google Chrome prior to 91.0.4472.101 allowed an attacker who convinced a user to install a malicious extension to potentially exploit heap corruption via a crafted HTML page.
CVE-2021-30553
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-15
Use after free in Network service in Google Chrome prior to 91.0.4472.101 allowed a remote attacker to potentially exploit heap corruption via a crafted HTML page.
CVE-2021-24037
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-15
A use after free in hermes, while emitting certain error messages, prior to commit d86e185e485b6330216dee8e854455c694e3a36e allows attackers to potentially execute arbitrary code via crafted JavaScript. Note that this is only exploitable if the application using Hermes permits evaluation of untruste...