August 09, 2007

Mozilla gets proactive about browser security?

This article reports that Mozilla are now proactive on security. This is good news. In the past, their efforts could be described as limited to bug patching and the like. Reactive security, in other words, which is what their fuzzer is:

Mozilla has been using an open-source application security testing tool, known as a fuzzer, for JavaScript to detect and fix dozens of security bugs in Firefox, Mozilla director of ecosystem development Window Snyder said Thursday at the Black Hat USA 2007 conference in Las Vegas. The JavaScript fuzzer found 280 bugs in Firefox, 27 of which were exploitable.

Now Mozilla is making that JavaScript fuzzer available to anyone who wants to use it, and it'll be followed later this year by fuzzers for the HTTP and FTP protocols.

"The FTP and HTTP protocol fuzzers act like fake servers that send bad data to sites," Snyder told InformationWeek.The HTTP fuzzer emulates an HTTP server to test how an HTTP client handles unexpected input. The FTP fuzzer likewise tests how an FTP client handles unexpected data.

Now however there is at least one person employed directly on thinking about security in a proactive sense:

Expect Firefox 3 to include new phishing and malware protection, extended validation certificates, improved password management, and a security user interface.

One could criticise this all as too little, too late, too "interests-driven". But changing cultures to think, really think about security is hard. It doesn't happen overnight, and it at least takes years. Consider that Microsoft has been working since 2003 to make this change, and the evidence is not here that their product is secure, yet, shows how hard it is.

Posted by iang at August 9, 2007 08:05 AM | TrackBack
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