It’s not rare when a flaw disables Microsoft Internet
Explorer (IE), but it is rare when the same flaw affects the alternatives.
That’s the unfortunate case with a new bug that targets the
Apple Safari. It causes them to crash and
could potentially form the basis of an exploit that would affect virtually all major
The bug has been called the Infinite Array Sort Denial Of Service Vulnerability
operation in turn effectively causes a DoS on the browser in question and causes it
to crash by exhausting stack memory.
At present there are no confirmed exploits in the wild that expand the vulnerability
to execute malicious code, though that may only be a matter of time.
Independent security researcher Berend-Jan Wever is credited with discovering the
flaw. Though the flaw was just disclosed on security mailing lists, Wever has been
aware of the flaw for some time and like many researchers had begun his efforts with
a focus on IE.
“I do not remember the exact details, since I found it quite some time ago. I was
probably looking for flaws in IE by guessing what might crash it,” Wever told internetnews.com.
routine earlier. Probably it was an educated yet lucky guess. It’s been on my hard disk ever since.”
The actual code required to crash the browsers has been publicly disclosed by
Wever and contains only four lines of code.
Wever came under some fire from other members of the security community
on various security mailing lists for disclosing the vulnerability, as well as his
previous disclosures regarding the IFRAME vulnerability. In a public post, Wever
defended his disclosure and reminded the community that other less scrupulous individuals
exist that find vulnerabilities and exploit them for greater profit.
“What if I was without integrity, as some people would have it, and would write a worm
exploiting some (or all) of the bugs I had found over the years?” Wever wrote.
Bug entries have been posted to Mozilla’s Bugzilla reporting system, but at press time, Mozilla, Microsoft, Apple and Opera had not posted any patches for the flaw.