Google Chrome vulnerable to carpet-bombing flaw

September 29, 2008

Google’s shiny new Web browser is vulnerable to a carpet-bombing vulnerability that could expose Windows users to malicious hacker attacks.

Just hours after the release of Google Chrome, researcher Aviv Raff discovered that he could combine two vulnerabilities — a flaw in Apple Safari (WebKit) and a Java bug discussed at this year’s Black Hat conference — to trick users into launching executables direct from the new browser.

Raff has cooked up a harmless demo of the attack in action, showing how a Google Chrome users can be lured into downloading and launching a JAR (Java Archive) file that gets executed without warning.

In the proof-of-concept, Raff’s code shows how a malicious hacker can use a clever social engineering lure — it requires two mouse clicks — to plant malware on Windows desktops.

The Google Chrome user-agent shows that Chrome is actually WebKit 525.13 (Safari 3.1), which is an outdated/vulnerable version of that browser.

Apple patched the carpet-bombing issue with Safari v3.1.2.

Some Google Chrome early adopters using Windows Vista are reporting that files downloaded from the Internet are automatically dropped on the desktop, setting up a scenario where a combo-attack using this unpatched IE flaw could be used in attacks.

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