It would appear as though the competition between Google and Microsoft is not a thing of the past. It would also appear that one man is trying to inform the public about something worth knowing. USA Today reports that Google researcher Michal Zalewski has publically disclosed a fresh security flaw in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser. This is the second time this has happened within four months. In September of last year, another Google researcher, Chris Evans, discovered a fresh Internet Explorer vulnerability and announced it publically before Microsoft could prepare what is called “a security patch.”
Apparently, over the weekend, Zalewski denied Microsoft’s request for him to postpone revealing the discovery until the company had time to launch a patch. Microsoft argues that Zalewski has heightened the chances of cyber criminals finding a way to abuse the browser flaw before a patch can be developed, tested, and circulated. While this claim has not been proven, Microsoft is attempting to find out if hackers could potentially take advantage of the flaw. No known attacks due to the flaw have been reported.
Google’s Chrome web browser contends against Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, the most dominantly used browser worldwide. On the other hand, Microsoft has made significant efforts to convert Internet users from conducting searches through Google to Bing instead.
Zalewski claims that he disclosed the discovery of the Internet Explorer flaw since he believes that Chinese researches have already recently discovered the same issue. To detect the flaw, Zalewski stated that he used “cross fuzzing”, which is a technique that involves submitting unanticipated data to the Internet Explorer browser until it breaks, thus allowing the ability to take control of the browser.
The Microsoft browser problem exposed by Zalewski and Evans brings to light the potential risks of cybercriminals and hackers alike to dominate Internet-connected computers. On the bright side, now that this potential problem has been made publically known, a solution can be found. Flaws in Internet browsers and other applications just go to show that staying informed and being prepared go a long way in ensuring that online “property” is secure.