Safari on macOS


Careful what you click: Safari has an unpatched URL vulnerability

It’s a good reminder not to click links in emails.


Christina Bonnington


Security researcher Rafay Baloch disclosed a particularly sneaky-sounding security issue to Apple and Microsoft earlier this summer. Both Apple‘s Safari browser and Microsoft‘s Edge browser could be tricked by a URL spoofing vulnerability, which shows a web user the URL of a “safe” website, when users have in fact inadvertently visited a malicious site. Microsoft patched the vulnerability for its Edge web browser, but Apple hasn’t yet fixed the security issue in Safari.

Baloch details the URL spoofing vulnerability in a blog post. It starts via a standard phishing technique: An email urges you to click a link, which looks like a normal, safe URL. Once tapped, the link sends you to a different destination. Normally, you’d at least notice this discrepancy once the website loaded and you saw the site’s URL. However, because Safari allows the address bar to be updated via Javascript as a site is loading, a website can spoof the safe URL, hiding the fact that you’ve actually landed on a malicious phishing site.

This particular URL spoofing vulnerability is a good reminder not to trust links that are delivered via text or email. If you receive an email from your bank, a security alert for one of your accounts, or an email with a link for obtaining a prize you’ve won, open a new tab and type in the URL directly, rather than clicking the link from the email itself. While it’s a pain, this is particularly important on your phone, as it’s sometimes more difficult to notice the URL you’re being taken to.

Baloch discovered the bug three months ago, at which point he alerted Apple and Microsoft. After waiting the customary 90 days for the URL spoofing vulnerability to be fixed, he publicly disclosed details around the issue. With macOS Mojave likely coming out soon, it’s possible Apple could include a fix in this software update or in a software patch to be delivered in the coming weeks.

H/T the Register

The Daily Dot