A New Addition To The Rogue Web Browsers List

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For a long time, I've been fascinated by what I like to call the "Rogue web browser" - a web browser that abuses the trust we place in our gateway to the web, and subverts its use for something more sinister. Here's a brief potted history of the known examples:

Yapbrowser, April 2006: A web browser that didn't force install, asked permission and displayed a EULA. Unfortunately, it also took you to a webpage pushing hardcore child pornography when you typed in any address into the web-browser.

Safety Browser, May 2006: A web browser that installed without permission via IM, looped a soundfile on your desktop, served you ads via geolocational technology and made your PC more unsafe than it was previously by allowing popups by default.

Browsezilla, June 2006: Allegedly inflated the hitcount of pornographic websites by opening up those pages in a way that the end user couldn't see the pages being opened, linked to sites launching the WMF exploit.

NetBrowserPro, March 2007: Pushed fake media codes, installed a rootkit, preyed on trusted brands.

Well, it's been a while but later on we'll be covering another addition to the list. We actually came across this last July, but as we said here, we didn't go into specifics because

1) We wanted to give Myspace some time to address the problem, which they seem to have done.

2) We didn't want lots of crazy people to go hunting for the program being used, given that Myspace sometimes takes a little while to tackle security issues brought to their attention and

3) Nothing tried to exploit your PC or steal your data, or we'd have released more information sooner. The solution to the problem caused by the program was simply to not post any personal or potentially "sensitive" information to private Myspace groups - if you weren't doing that (and you shouldn't be anyway!) then you had nothing to worry about.

4) The program itself was rather buggy, and had an extremely low rate of success. After exhaustive testing, we only saw it do what it was supposed to do twice. No sense in causing a panic.

At any rate, it's been eight months and the program doesn't appear to work at all now. With that in mind, we'll take a peek a little later on...

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This page contains a single entry by Christopher Boyd published on March 18, 2009 6:00 PM.

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