Get your debuggers going.
It looks like Microsoft has finally decided to borrow one of the Google’s ideas: rewards for finding serious web browser bugs.
While the rewards program is not exactly new in the software giant campus, those who wanted to do some serious debugging for the Project Spartan will finally be rewarded the right way: up to $15,000 for a security vulnerability.
The bad news? The clock is ticking and this is not exactly a campaign for a lifetime. Instead, the Project Spartan Bug Bounty will end on June 22, 2015.
Grab it now.
In an effort to protect its users privacy, the developers of Firefox web browser have made some serious changes that will allow to encrypt non https (http://) traffic.
How is that even possible? You can thank opportunistic encryption, a technique, which encrypts the communication when connecting to another system. As a result, Firefox will route HTTP (port 80) requests that are usually sent in the cleartext to a port of server administrator’s choice. In addition to that, users won’t experience any delays as connections will be fully established before they are even used.
Ad agencies rejoice.
Remember when Microsoft was all pro consumer, pro privacy and all that? Resulting in praises from various companies and users after it was decided to enable Do Not Track (DNT) by default in both IE10 and IE11?
Well, the good news are over as Microsoft has just changed its mind and won’t be enabling such feature by default.
Why? The recent W3C draft update now includes the following: “The basic principle is that a tracking preference expression is only transmitted when it reflects a deliberate choice by the user. In the absence of user choice, there is no tracking preference expressed”
Sneaky ad injecting extensions is a no go.
Good news for users and bad for developers, thanks to a recent crackdown by Google, the search giant has identified and removed a total of 192 Google Chrome extensions that have been injecting ads to millions of users.
As it turns out, more than 5% of all people that have visited Google sites have had at least one ad injector installed and all in all, it has affected a total of 14 million users.
A total of $442,000 paid in bounties to all contestants.
Well, it seems like no one was safe in this year’s Pwn2Own hacking competition as all 4 major web browsers have failed to protect the users.
The star of this contest however was Jung Hoon Lee (lokihardt) who has managed to reap $225,000 in rewards, breaking through Chrome’s security with a buffer overflow (which earned him $110,000) and then exploiting Microsoft’s Internet Explorer ($65,000 in rewards), followed by Apple’s Safari ($50,000 in rewards).
That should be enough to improve his life for good.
Now here’s something that should definitely concern you. According to the recent report, there is a way to reveal typed in passwords in the Internet Explorer 11 (on Windows Phone 8).
All you have to do is:
- Enable Cortana if not yet enabled
- Type the password
- Highlight the password (we’re talking about ******) and then hit the search button
- Congratulations, you are now seeing a supposedly hidden password
Apple tops the OS chart.
In the recently published study by GFI, which took a database of vulnerabilities that were published in 2014 and created a chart that makes sense, it looks like Microsoft‘s Internet Explorer still has a long way to go until it‘s no longer the most vulnerable web browser out there.
As you can see in the chart below, the top application by vulnerabilities reported in 2014 was indeed Internet Explorer (242), followed by Google Chrome (124) and Firefox (117).
If you have bought a Lenovo laptop this or last year and haven’t heard yet, one of the most successful PC makers has been caught installing adware on a number of machines with reports starting from mid-2014.
Basically, a software called Superfish is injecting third party ads on Google searches. Not only that, it also injects its own certificate, allowing to snoop on secure connections and decrypt them. Just take a look at this screenshot:
In an effort to protects its users and reduce the number of malicious add-ons, the open source organization has announced its plans to enforce extension signing, which means that starting from Q2, 2015, developers will have to get a signature verification from Mozilla. The extension signing warnings will first appear on Firefox 39.
Forms a new privacy initiative called Polaris.
In an effort to protect its user’s privacy, Mozilla has announced a new strategic initiative with the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) and the Tor Project, which they hope will support and advise Polaris projects that should benefit everyone.
As a result, two new experiments have been announced as well (under Polaris belt), focusing on anti-censorship technology, cross site tracking protection and anonymity. In addition to that, Mozilla will also start hosting Tor middle relays, which will make the whole Tor network more responsive.