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24 Mar 2005

New version of Firefox web browser fixes critical security hole, Sophos reports

Firefox is increasing in popularity as an alternative to Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global network of virus and spam analysis centres, have advised businesses and home users to update their version of the Mozilla Firefox web browser, in order to protect against a critical security flaw.

Firefox 1.0.2 addresses a problem in the browser's handling of animated GIF images. A malicious hacker could exploit the vulnerability, by creating a carefully crafted GIF file that when viewed by the browser would execute malicious code on the computer.

"There's a lot of discussion on the internet at the moment as to which web browser offers the highest level of security. What's clear is that everyone who uses the internet has to make sure they stay up-to-date with the latest security fixes. The increasing popularity of Firefox will undoubtedly mean that its users will be targeted by more hackers in the future," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "With organised crime increasingly attempting to steal from innocent users through viruses, phishing attacks and spyware, no-one can afford to relax when it comes to security."

More information about the new version of Firefox, which is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, can be found on Mozilla's website.

Firefox is said to have been downloaded by over 30 million people, and has stolen market share from the leading web browser, Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Sophos continues to recommend computer users practise safe computing as well as running up-to-date anti-virus software.

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at