An independent consultancy says companies should think twice about browsers built on WebGL
After Context first published its findings that WebGL exposes systems to security risks, Khronos, the developers of WebGL, and browser vendors have stepped up and taken action to address those concerns. This new report is based on continued research by Context, as well as testing done to determine if the actions taken by Khronos and browser vendors actually work to make WebGL safe.
Context stresses in the new report that it is not unusual to find security issues with a new technology, but that it is crucial to identify and mitigate those issues as quickly as possible to minimize risk and protect users. Context reviewed conformance tests developed by Khronos designed to assess compliance with the WebGL standard using a variety of operating systems, browsers, and graphics hardware.
“Through this work Context has discovered that neither Chrome nor Firefox passed the Khronos tests, including a number that are directly related to security. Context then explored the consequences of one of the failed conformance tests. The issue it identified allowed us to extract images containing data from the user’s desktop and from other Web browser sessions such as authenticated pages.”
Andrew Brandt, lead threat research analyst for Webroot, points out, “The simplest thing is to just disable WebGL in your browser. There’s no need to avoid using Firefox or Chrome just because they support WebGL, but I’d definitely recommend disabling it for the time being.”
Organizations should disable WebGL pending changes to the standard, and implementation of the technology by the individual browsers that close these security holes. Doing so will impact the capabilities of the browser and the overall Web experience, but that is preferable to leaving systems exposed to unnecessary risk. An alternate solution is to consider adopting a browser that does not support or rely on WebGL, like Internet Explorer.
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