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Hovering Mouse Over Crafted URL Causes DoS in Chrome

A security researcher has identified and reported what appears to be a denial-of-service (DoS) bug affecting current versions of Google Chrome.

A security researcher has identified and reported what appears to be a denial-of-service (DoS) bug affecting current versions of Google Chrome.

Andris Atteka reported on Friday that the bug can be triggered by adding a NULL character in the URL string. The expert published the following example link on his blog: When the mouse hovers over this URL in Chrome, the browser crashes. The bug is also triggered if a specially crafted URL is clicked or typed into the application’s address bar.

The flaw can cause Chrome to terminate completely or it crashes only the current tab.

“Unfortunately no reward was awarded as this was deemed to be only a DOS vulnerability,” Atteka explained. “Anyway, making secure software is much harder than finding issues in it.”

Atteka reported the issue on September 18 and Chrome developers have been debating on how to fix it ever since.

Google experts say they’ve managed to reproduce the bug on the Android version of the browser and even on Chrome 47 Dev (released on September 15). Android WebView is also said to be affected. SecurityWeek has managed to reproduce the issue on Chrome for Windows, Mac and an older version of Android (4.4.2).

While Chrome developers are working on a fix, San Francisco-based web developer Sean Zhu created a little game that leverages the bug.

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The flaw doesn’t pose much of a security risk, but it could impact a large number of users. As Chromium developers have noted, “this is a mess.”

Written By

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.

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