Mozilla has released Firefox 3.6.2 about a week ahead of the original schedule. The update addresses some stability issues and a number of security vulnerabilities, most notably the critical security flaw described in Bug 552216, which could allow an attacker to execute malicious code on the target system
Firefox is the number two Web browser behind Microsoft Internet Explorer, and is widely used as the de facto replacement for Internet Explorer in businesses around the world. Internet Explorer and Firefox combined have over 85 percent market share--leaving less than 15 percent to be divided among the remaining players.
Firefox experienced a dramatic spike in downloads--at least in Germany--following the discovery that a zero-day exploit in Internet Explorer was leveraged to launch attacks against Google and other companies in China. Germany, followed closely by France, recommended that businesses and users abandon Internet Explorer to ensure they could not be impacted by the zero-day attacks.
Now, Firefox finds itself on the other end of that same equation. Germany officially recommended that businesses and users drop Firefox in favor of another Web browser as a defense against the recently discovered security flaw.
The Firefox security issue does have a limited scope, though. Only Firefox 3.6 is affected, and the exploit will only work on Firefox running on Windows XP or Windows Vista. IT administrators need not worry about the millions of Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows 7 systems running Firefox.
Addressing the security issue as quickly as possible--and preventing any sort of German mass exodus off of the Firefox browser--is likely the main reason for the earlier-than-planned Firefox 3.6.2. It also seems likely that Mozilla wanted to ensure the most current, patched, and up to date version of its Web browser possible leading up to the CanSecWest security conference.
Web browser vendors don't want the notoriety that comes with being the browser platform hacked the fastest, or the Web browser that allowed an attacker to take control of the computer it's running on, so it makes sense to try to address as many issues as possible. Unfortunately for Mozilla, Apple, and others, they can only patch flaws they're aware of, and Pwn2Own contestants keep newly discovered vulnerabilities and exploits as closely-guarded secrets until the event so they can capitalize on them to capture the cash and the bragging rights that come with winning the contest.
A post on the Mozilla Developer News blog stresses "We strongly recommend that all Firefox users upgrade to this latest release. If you already have Firefox 3.6 you will receive an automated update notification within 24 to 48 hours. This update can also be applied manually by selecting "Check for Updates..." from the Help menu."
Businesses have no reason to be concerned with which browser gets compromised the fastest at CanSecWest, but any business using Firefox 3.6 on Windows XP or Windows Vista has a very good reason to upgrade to Firefox 3.6.2 as soon as possible.
Google, the search engine giant has searched out Nigeria. On the first day of it’s just concluded G-Nigeria event held inside the University of Lagos, Akoka main campus, it announced to ICT news journalists; both of the local and foreign media, the launch of it’s latest Google on-line map domain which features a very elaborate and almost detailed navigable map of the country.
The Map presentation made by Christian Miccio; the product manager, had all the thirty-six states and the FCT on it. Further demonstrations by him, displayed notable roads, bridges, companies and local businesses in Lagos. Mr Miccio said the Map held locations and addresses of banks, hospitals, schools, government offices, stadiums and even bus routes! Terrain level and other demographic features were highlighted.
These businesses and company addresses Google says had been uploaded on to the map at no charge at all.
The Google team, however, acknowledges it’s major handicap. “you know this terrain more than we do” says Nelson Mattos, Vice president, Engineering and the keynote speaker at the event “we therefore call on you to help with as much local information as you can”
Mr Miccio told the gathering of participants “when you see a map, you can edit the map by either adding to the map or correcting existing items; for example, names that had been mis-spelt”
Small clouds of fear gathered at this point as Mr. Sumbo Olorunfemi, a participant who spoke to Cyberlife expresses “True, Nigerians can be quite mischievous at times. If the map is open to just about anyone to add or remove information, what stops some disgruntled element from inputting a wrong information or removing a vital one… ” Another participant, Mr Tunji Ladner who is a technology analyst, however, dismisses this. “Yes, we may have to be careful using the tool but that should not be a barrier”
Mr Miccio when asked by this reporter on the issue tried to allay the fears. “We already have a monitoring system in place that checks the authenticity of information added to the map”
Yet, even Mr. Miccio, admits that the map is still developing, although he refuses to be swayed by strong indications it may have been overtaken by competition. He says “Google as a product is not in competition with anyone, we leave that decision to the public to make ”
Participants who had attended the event were encouraged to seize the opportunity to empower themselves financially by helping local companies and businesses all around the country get their companies and business addresses enlisted on the map. They could create their own consultancy services and become local content suppliers just as it is applicable in other developed countries.
In other developments, the keynote speaker, Mr Nelson Mattos, announced plans by Google to inculcate it’s news in the local languages “it will not be easy… help of every one will be needed”
Mr Nyibo Odero, Office Lead, English speaking West Africa, Lagos, also says there are planned activities in the near future to reach out more to the ordinary people.
Today Adobe unveiled Adobe Flash® Player 10.1 software for smartphones, smartbooks, netbooks, PCs and other Internet-connected devices, allowing content created using the Adobe Flash Platform to reach users wherever they are. A public developer beta of the browser-based runtime is expected to be available for Windows® Mobile, Palm® webOS and desktop operating systems including Windows, Macintosh and Linux later this year. Public betas for Google® Android™ and Symbian® OS are expected to be available in early 2010. In addition, Adobe and RIM announced a joint collaboration to bring Flash Player to Blackberry® smartphones, and Google joined close to 50 other industry players in the Open Screen Project initiative.
Flash Player 10.1 is the first consistent runtime release of the Open Screen Project that enables uncompromised Web browsing of expressive applications, content and high definition (HD) videos across devices. Using the productive Web programming model of the Flash Platform, the browser-based runtime enables millions of designers and developers to reuse code and assets and reduce the cost of creating, testing and deploying content across different operating systems and browsers. Flash Player 10.1 is easily updateable across all supported platforms to ensure rapid adoption of new innovations that move the Web forward.
The browser-based runtime leverages the power of the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) for accelerated video and graphics while conserving battery life and minimizing resource utilization. New mobile-ready features that take advantage of native device capabilities include support for multi-touch, gestures, mobile input models, accelerometer and screen orientation bringing unprecedented creative control and expressiveness to the mobile browsing experience. Flash Player 10.1 will also take advantage of media delivery with HTTP streaming, including integration of content protection powered by Adobe® Flash® Access 2.0. This effort, code-named Zeri, will be an open format based on industry standards and will provide content publishers, distributors and partners the tools they need to utilize HTTP infrastructures for high-quality media delivery in Flash Player 10.1 and Adobe® AIR® 2.0 software.
The release also signals some of the first more conspicuous visual changes to Chrome, including support for themes, a more customizable home screen that allows drag-and-drop reordering of sites, and clearer differences between online and bookmark search results in the address bar.
HTML 5 support is also new and, among other changes, brings HTTP audio and video streaming without needing plugins.
The release is available now for Windows users. Google has previously pledged Linux- and Mac-native versions of Chrome and has a rough Mac developer version but doesn't expect more polished releases of these for the next few months.
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