Mozilla has plugged a security hole that lets hackers take over PCs using Firefox and the QuickTime media plug-in.
The flaw, which was reported last week by hacker Petko Petkov, gives attackers a way to run unauthorised commands on a victim's PC. "This could be used to install malware, steal local data, or otherwise corrupt the victim's computer," Mozilla said in a security advisory published this week.
A July 2007 patch was supposed to take care of this type of problem, but Petkov showed how attackers could still run commands on a victim's system by tricking a victim into opening a maliciously coded QuickTime media file.
In fact, until Apple addresses the underlying flaw in QuickTime, there still could be headaches for users, Mozilla said in its security advisory. "QuickTime Media-link files could still be used to annoy users with pop-up windows and dialogues until this issue is fixed in QuickTime," the advisory states.
"Petkov provided proof of concept code that may be easily converted into an exploit, so users should consider this a very serious issue," Mozilla's security chief, Window Snyder said in a recent blog posting. Mozilla has been able to reproduce this bug only on the Windows operating system, she added.
The flaw also affects the Internet Explorer browser, Petkov said on his blog. However, IE's security policies make the flaw less critical on Microsoft's browser, he added.
The Firefox 18.104.22.168 update was pushed out to users yesterday. It contains only one security update: the QuickTime fix.
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