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The Browser Hacker's Handbook by Michele Orru, Christian Frichot, Wade Alcorn

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CHAPTER 6

Attacking Browsers

The browser is a gateway to so many of the activities people do now on a daily basis. From keeping up with friends to deciding if our crops in an online game need watering, the browser is responsible for giving us access to shopping, banking, entertainment, and information. To facilitate this, the browser has become much more than a tool to view web pages. It has turned into an application that will help run other applications.

Historically, browsers have been prime targets for attackers because of the myriad features they are required to support.1 It is amazing how far browsers have come with regard to their security; security is now seen as a marketable feature. Take Firefox, for example, as shown in Figure 6-1.

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Figure 6-1: Firefox—fast, flexible, secure

This doesn't mean that attackers have stopped focusing on browsers. In fact, the contrary is now true. Attackers (and security researchers) are putting a great deal of effort into attacking web browsers. There are even public competitions with substantial prize money to discover new and novel ways to compromise the latest versions of the browsers.2 Some browser vendors have bug bounties, or cash prizes, for finding vulnerabilities in the browser.3

What makes browsers an even more interesting target is the shift they've undergone from desktop applications to mobile applications. We are in the age of ...

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