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Mozilla Flaw Springs Privacy Leak

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From internetnews.com:

September 16, 2002
Mozilla Flaw Springs Privacy Leak
By Ryan Naraine

Researchers have found a flaw in Mozilla-based browsers that springs data on the Web surfing movements of users.

Head researcher at Neopoly Sven Neuhaus said the bug, first discovered in May, is a serious privacy issue.

In a demonstration of the flaw, Neuhaus says it exposes the URL of the page a user is viewing to the Web server of the site visited last, allowing a Web site to track where a viewer goes next regardless of whether the URL is entered manually or via a bookmark.

"This bug is still present in the Mozilla 1.1 release... It's been three months," Neuhaus said in a plea for a fix on Bugzilla, the site used to track vulnerabilities in Mozilla releases.

It affects Mozilla browser versions 0.9x, 1.0, 1.0.1, 1.1 and 1.2 alpha; Netscape 6.x and 7; Galeon 1.2.x and Chimera 0.5.

Mozilla users are urged to disable JavaScript as a temporary workaround until a fix is issued. The flaw exists in the "onunload" handler which loads an image from the referring server about a user's surfing movements.

In addition to disabling JavaScript, users can avoid the bug by creating a file "user.js" in the profile folder (the one with the pref.js file) and put the following line in the file: user_pref("capability.policy.default.Window.onunload", "noAccess"); This stops the "onunload" handler from being activated.

Mozilla.org, the open source browser project backed by AOL Time Warner (Quote, Company Info), just released the 1.1 upgrade to provide increased support for Linux and Mac platforms but the privacy flaw remains in the upgrade, Neuhaus said.

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