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"Safari Carpet Bomb" attack possible

updated 06:55 pm EDT, Tue May 20, 2008

Safari carpet bomb attack

A large security hole in the Windows version of Safari has security researcher Nitesh Dhanjani believing that malicious users could exploit the browser with what he calls a "Safari Carpet Bomb". Stop Badware reports that the exploit works through Safari's inability to obtain a user's permission before downloading resources, related to how it handles content-type rendering. Dhanjani filed a security report with Apple, and was met with a rather neutral response.

"We can file that as an enhancement request for the Safari team. Please note that we are not treating this as a security issue, but a further measure to raise the bar against unwanted downloads. This will require a review with the Human Interface team. We want to set your expectations that this could take quite a while, if it ever gets incorporated."

Stop Badware writes that the issue is larger than Apple is giving it credit for, saying that the vulnerability would cause a serious security threat.

by MacNN Staff





  1. JohnFromBeyond

    Joined: Dec 1969


    the sky is falling

    "carpet bomb"?!? Can we get more sensational than that? Great way to grab some headlines. Next time, try "nuclear holocaust".

    I wonder how long after he submitted the report to Apple before he went for the headlines. Did he give them time to investigate and work up a solution (assuming it was merited)?

  1. DeezNutts

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: the sky is falling

    Well you could have just read the response from Apple to get an idea of what they thought.

    "We can file that as an enhancement request for the Safari team. Please note that we are not treating this as a security issue..."

    Apparently he waited long enough for them to reply.

    He was apparently nice enough to notify them instead of just releasing malicious code based on the 'supposed' exploit.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apparently apple doesn't see downloading automatically a large amount of files a problem. Hmmm.

  1. resuna

    Joined: Dec 1969


    This is just a DOS

    This is just a DOS attack. Downloading a file is not an exploit: at most downloading a lot of files can lead to your link being saturated and eventually your disk filling up, but you will notice it and you can unilaterally stop it at any time. There are far worse attacks you can pull on a browser... simply opening a bunch of frames and rendering a big HTML file in each will bog a browser down worse than this "attack".

    Oh, should I have notified Microsoft and Firefox and Apple before saying that?

  1. trowelblister

    Joined: Dec 1969


    my understanding,,,

    ,,,is that yes, safari does automatically download the files, but it's microsoft's OS that automatically RUNS the dll files. sems safari's problem may be somewhat minor in comparison

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