Security Experts:

Google Fixes 45 Security Flaws With Release of Chrome 42

Google announced on Tuesday the availability of Chrome 42 for Windows, Mac and Linux. The latest release addresses a total of 45 security issues and removes NPAPI support.

Judging by the bug bounties paid out by Google, the most serious vulnerability fixed in Chrome 42 is a cross-origin bypass flaw in the HTML parser (CVE-2015-1235). The discovery of this high severity bug earned an anonymous researcher $7,500.

The list of high severity vulnerabilities also includes a type confusion in V8 (CVE-2015-1242) reported by Cole Forrester of Onshape, a use-after-free in IPC (CVE-2015-1237) reported by Khalil Zhani, and an out-of-bounds write bug in the Skia graphics engine (CVE-2015-1238) identified by cloudfuzzer.

The medium severity security issues reported by external researchers are a cross-origin-bypass in the Blink web browser engine, an out-of-bounds read in WebGL, a use-after-free in PDFium, a tap-jacking flaw, an HSTS bypass in WebSockets, an out-of-bounds read in Blink, scheme issues in OpenSearch, and a SafeBrowsing bypass.

The researchers who contributed to making Chrome more secure have been awarded a total of $21,500, according to a blog post published by Google. However, the total amount could be higher since there are some vulnerability reports that haven’t gone through the search giant’s reward panel.

“We would also like to thank all security researchers that worked with us during the development cycle to prevent security bugs from ever reaching the stable channel,” wrote Alex Mineer of the Google Chrome team.

In September 2013, Google announced plans to phase out support for the Netscape Plugin API (NPAPI). The company noted at the time that the API’s 90s-era architecture was causing crashes, security issues and other problems.

In January 2014, Google blocked web page-instantiated NPAPI plugins by default, but whitelisted some of the most popular applications, such as Silverlight, Unity, Google Earth, Google Talk, and Facebook Video. Java was also on the list of most popular plugins using NPAPI, but it had been disabled earlier for security reasons.

Now, NPAPI support has been disabled by default in Chrome and extensions requiring NPAPI plugins will be removed from the Chrome Web Store. Advanced users and enterprises can temporarily re-enable NPAPI until the plugins they use transition to alternative technologies.

Starting with Chrome 45, scheduled to be released in September, this override will be removed and NPAPI support will be permanently disabled.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.