Google rushes out fix for zero‑day vulnerability in Chrome

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The update patches a total of seven security flaws in the desktop versions of the popular web browser

Google has released an update for its Chrome web browser that fixes a range of security flaws, including a zero-day vulnerability that is known to be actively exploited by malicious actors. The bugs affect the Windows, macOS, and Linux versions of the popular browser.

“Google is aware of reports that exploits for CVE-2021-21224 exist in the wild,” said Google about the newly disclosed zero-day vulnerability that stems from a type confusion bug in the V8 JavaScript engine that is used in Chrome and other Chromium-based web browsers.

Beyond the zero-day flaw, the new release fixes six other security loopholes, with Google specifically listing four high-severity vulnerabilities where fixes were contributed by external researchers. The first, indexed as CVE-2021-21222, also affects the V8 engine, however this time it is a heap buffer-overflow bug.

The second flaw, tracked as CVE-2021-21225, also resides in the V8 component and manifests as an out-of-bounds memory access bug. As for CVE-2021-21223, it is found to affect Mojo as an integer overflow bug. The fourth high-severity vulnerability, labeled CVE-2021-21226, is a use-after-free flaw found in Chrome’s navigation.

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“Successful exploitation of the most severe of these vulnerabilities could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of the browser. Depending on the privileges associated with the application, an attacker could view, change, or delete data,” warned the Center for Internet Security.

As is common with such releases, the tech titan has not disclosed any further details about the security loopholes until most users have had a chance to update their web browsers to the newest available version, mitigating the chance of the vulnerabilities being exploited by threat actors.

The Government Computer Emergency Response Team Hong Kong (GovCERT.HK) issued a security alert advising users and system administrators to update their browsers. “Users of affected systems should update the Google Chrome to version 90.0.4430.85 to address the issue,” said the agency.

Considering the disclosed vulnerabilities, users would do well to update their browsers to the latest version (90.0.4430.85) as soon as practicable. If you have automatic updates enabled, your browser should update by itself. You can also manually update your browser by visiting the About Google Chrome section, which can be found under Help in the menu bar.