Google passes the bug after zero-day Chrome hack
Engineers say Flash vulnerability is really at fault
- By Chris Paoli
- May 12, 2011
Google is speaking out after news on May 9 that a French security firm had found a zero-day exploit in Chrome's code
Vupen, the security group in question, announced it had found an issue with Chrome running on Windows systems that allows a hacker to bypass all security features, including Chrome's sandbox mode. In response, members of Google's Chrome engineering team took to Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media outlets to place the blame on Adobe. They claim the security issues are associated with a recently discovered vulnerability found in Adobe's Flash code.
"It's a legit pwn, but if it requires Flash, it's not a Chrome pwn," wrote Chris Evans, Google's information security engineer and tech lead, in a Tweet this morning. "Do Java bugs count as a Chrome pwn too, because we support NPAPI?"
Also joining in on the Google Twitter defense this morning was Tavis Ormandy, an engineer at Google: "As usual, security journalists don't bother to fact check. VUPEN misunderstood how sandboxing worked in Chrome, and only had a flash bug." Ormandy was the security researcher that publicly disclosed a Windows XP help flaw in July, eliciting reaction from Microsoft.
Ironically, Vupen's claims about the Google Chrome security vulnerabilities could not be broadly verified because the security firm stated it would not release the specifics of the zero-day hack to the public.
Chaouki Bekrar, Vupen's founder and head researcher, defended the company's confirmation of the exploit. Bekrar jumped into the Twitter war of words by assuring that the hack is, in fact, legitimate. Responding directly to Chris Evans' Tweet, Bekrar wrote, "Flash bugs are equivalent to Chrome sandbox escapes from an attacker's perspective. You're thinking like developers."
Bekrar also noted on his Twitter feed May 11 that the hack had been verified to work on both Chrome versions 11 and 12, running on a Windows machine.
Google has not officially released a statement on the matter.
Chris Paoli is the associate Web editor for 1105 Enterprise Computing Group's Web sites, including Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com, ADTmag.com and VirtualizationReview.com.