updated 09:15 am EST, Tue February 21, 2006
New Safari security flaw
Following reports of the first two Mac OS X worms, a newly reported security vulnerability in Apple's Safari web browser could allow remote system access. Dubbed as "extremely critical" by security website Secunia, the newly reported flaw in Safari takes advantage of an automatically selected option to "open safe files' after downloading--which is turned by default to display images and movies that are compressed. However, Apple's 'safe' filter can be tricked, allowing a specifically crafted shell script to be executed without prompting a user for confirmation, something usually done for applications and executables. MacSecurityNews says that shell scripts stored in a ZIP archive without the so-called shebang line can bypass the Safari 'safe' filter: it no longer recognizes the content as potentially dangerous and executes shell commands without a confirmation prompt. Secunia has posted a proof of concept that launches the 'Calculator' application upon download of an archive. The website has confirmed the flaw on a full-patched system with Safari 2.0.3 (417.8) and Mac OS X 10.4.5 and recommends that users disable the "Open safe files after downloading" option in Safari.