Google issues critical security warning for 2 billion users
Google revealed a critical security vulnerability in Chrome last weeks but remained tight-lipped about what exactly had gone wrong. We now have an idea, and critical is putting it lightly.
Sophos security researcher Paul Duckling wrote in a blog post that the fix in Chrome version 81.0.4044.113 patches a vulnerability that lets attackers avoid Chrome’s usual security checks. It also bypasses what Duckling calls “are you sure” dialog boxes — those pop-ups that appear when you might be approving something you shouldn’t.
The one detail Google provided in its security notice is that the bug is what’s called a “use after free” exploit. These memory corruption critical security vulnerabilities can be used by hackers to run malicious code by taking control of memory after it has been freed for other apps to use.
In the case of this Chrome flaw, the use after free exploit would let a bad actor “change the flow of control inside your program, including diverting the CPU to run untrusted code that the attacker just poked into memory from outside,” Duckling wrote.
Google marked this vulnerability as critical, which means attacks can be conducted remotely, or without an attacker gaining physical access to a system. If the flaw was present in all versions of Chrome, it could impact the two billion people who use Chrome as their preferred browser.
Google Chrome critical security vulnerability: How to protect yourself
This is all scary stuff but there is some good news. Google is expected to roll out the patch for Windows, Mac and Linux over the coming days and weeks.
Protecting your laptop or desktop is as simple as switching over to Mozilla Firefox! It’s a safer, more secure web browser that values privacy and security!