Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mozilla Says Stack Overflow Crash Not Exploitable (CVE-2009-2479)

Via Mozilla Blog -

In the last few days, there have been several reports (including one via SANS) of a bug in Firefox related to handling of certain very long Unicode strings. While these strings can result in crashes of some versions of Firefox, the reports by press and various security agencies have incorrectly indicated that this is an exploitable bug. Our analysis indicates that it is not, and we have seen no example of exploitability.

On Windows, Firefox 3.0.x is terminated due to an uncaught exception during an attempt to allocate a very large string buffer; this termination is safe and immediate, and does not permit the execution of attacker code. In Firefox 3.5.x on Windows, the allocations are more robustly checked and no crash will result.

On the Macintosh in Firefox 3.0.x and 3.5.x, a crash occurs inside the ATSUI system library (part of OS X), due to what appears to be a failure to check allocation results. This issue is likely to affect any application using the recommended text-handling libraries on OS X. We have reported this issue to Apple, but in the event that they do not provide a fix we will look to implement mitigations in Mozilla code. We recommend that other developers who use these libraries consider a similar practice, and we have added mitigations in the past for similar bugs in these libraries.

As a result of our analysis, we do not believe that this represents an exploitable vulnerability in Firefox. Further, we believe that the IBM report is in error, and that the severity rating in the National Vulnerability Database report is incorrect. We have contacted them and hope to resolve the inaccuracies shortly.

Mike Shaver
VP Engineering, Mozilla Corporation

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