Firefox 3.6.12 Fixes Critical Vulnerability
Article by George Norman
On 28 Oct 2010
UPDATE: several security firms have announced that exploit code leveraging this vulnerability has been detected in the wild. Mozilla, upon being notified by these security firms, created, tested, and released a fix within 48 hours of the first notification. Code leveraging the vulnerability was initially discovered on the Nobel Peace Prize site. Since exploit code for the vulnerability is out there, users are advised to update their Firefox browser as soon as possible.

If you are currently on Mozilla’s Firefox 3.6 browser, you are well advised to update to the latest version, which is version 3.6.12. Why are you well advised to update to Firefox 3.6.12? For security reasons – this version fixes a critical security issue that, if exploited by a person with malicious intent, could lead to remote code execution. Mozilla employs a 4-tier severity rating and “critical” is the most dangerous one.


You should receive an automatic update prompt. If you did not receive one, you can manually trigger and update by clicking Help -> Check for Updates. Or you can just download the latest Firefox version by clicking here.

The critical vulnerability that Firefox 3.6.12 fixes is detailed in security advisory MFSA 2010-73. Here’s the information included in this security advisory:

Title: Heap buffer overflow mixing document.write and DOM insertion
Affected products: Firefox, Thunderbird, SeaMonkey
Description: Morten Kråkvik of Telenor SOC reported an exploit targeting particular versions of Firefox 3.6 on Windows XP that Telenor found while investigating an intrusion attempt on a customer network. The underlying vulnerability, however, was present on both the Firefox 3.5 and Firefox 3.6 development branches and affected all supported platforms.
Credit: Morten Kråkvik of Telenor SOC.

In related news, Mozilla released Firefox 3.6.11 last week. Firefox 3.6.11 is a stability and security update. For version 3.6.11 Mozilla released 9 advisories, out of which 5 carry the critical rating. The security advisories Mozilla released for Firefox 3.6.11 are as follows (the bold ones are critical):
  • MFSA 2010-72 Insecure Diffie-Hellman key exchange
  • MFSA 2010-71 Unsafe library loading vulnerabilities
  • MFSA 2010-70 SSL wildcard certificate matching IP addresses
  • MFSA 2010-69 Cross-site information disclosure via modal calls
  • MFSA 2010-68 XSS in gopher parser when parsing hrefs
  • MFSA 2010-67 Dangling pointer vulnerability in LookupGetterOrSetter
  • MFSA 2010-66 Use-after-free error in nsBarProp
  • MFSA 2010-65 Buffer overflow and memory corruption using document.write
  • MFSA 2010-64 Miscellaneous memory safety hazards (rv:

Tags: Mozilla, Firefox, Security, Update
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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