Security firms fight Firefox fire with fire

Just in time for one of the first serious security flaws to be found in Mozilla's Firefox, two companies, Anonymizer and FraudEliminator, have released new security products for the popular open source Web browser.

Anonymizer's Total Privacy Suite is designed to safeguard Firefox users from spyware, keylonger software, and other online snooping programs. The suite integrates three Anonymizer programs -- surfing, anti-spyware, and digital shredding -- into a single product.

"Although Firefox is a secure browser, users are still extremely vulnerable to ID theft on the Internet without Total Privacy Suite in place," said Lee Itzhaki, director of product management for Anonymizer.

FraudEliminator's latest version of its FraudEliminator Pro software offers protection against pharming, phishing, and DNS exploits.

Firefox has been gaining market share on Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser and last week announced it had hit the 50 million download mark. Many Firefox advocates have said one key reason it has become so popular is because IE has proven to be a security sieve.

But early this week, Secunia, an IT security services company that monitors computer security issues, found several security flaws it deemed critical in Firefox. According to Secunia, two vulnerabilities found in the increasingly popular browser can be exploited to conduct cross-site scripting attacks and compromise a user's PC. Cross-site scripting (also known as XSS) occurs when a Web application gathers malicious data from a user. Many security experts have speculated that, as Firefox gains in popularity, it too will be hit by hackers much like IE.

The Mozilla Foundation says that it is working a solution to these potential vulnerabilities and will offer a security update to fix the problems. Meanwhile, Secunia says users can protect against the vulnerabilities by disabling JavaScript.

The new Anonymizer Total Privacy Suite is available now for US$59.95. FraudEliminator Pro is available for US$19.99. Both products are available from their respective company Web sites.

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