Thunderbird gets its EFAIL patch

Version 52.9 now does PGP and S/MIME right, adds another dozen bug-splats

Thunderbird has pushed code with fixes for a dozen security vulnerabilities – including the EFAIL encryption mess that emerged in May.

The EFAIL-specific fixes address two errors in Thunderbird's handling of encrypted messages: CVE-2018-12372, in which an attacker can build S/MIME and PGP decryption oracles in HTML messages; and CVE-2018-12373, in which S/MIME plaintext can be leaked if a message is forwarded.

EFAIL was announced with a much-criticised process. The discoverers emphasised the issue's exploitability to read messages encrypted with PGP and S/MIME – but the vulnerabilities were specific to client implementations.

Thunderbird users will therefore welcome news that the client has joined the list of EFAIL-safe email tools.

Thunderbird 52.9 also includes some critical-rated fixes. CVE-2018-12359 was a buffer overflow leading to a potentially exploitable crash: “A buffer overflow can occur when rendering canvas content while adjusting the height and width of the <canvas> element dynamically, causing data to be written outside of the currently computed boundaries.”

The other, CVE-2018-12360, is a use-after-free, also with a potentially exploitable crash: “A use-after-free vulnerability can occur when deleting an input element during a mutation event handler triggered by focusing that element.”

Security researcher Matt Nelson noticed that under Windows 10, users weren't getting warned when they were opening executable SettingContent-ms files (CVE-2018-12368).

That bug meant “unsuspecting users unfamiliar with this new file type might run an unwanted executable. This also allows a WebExtension with the limited permission to execute arbitrary code without user interaction on Windows 10 systems”.

Thunderbird also inherited some memory safety bugs from the Firefox code base, also fixed.

The program's developers noted that many of the bugs aren't directly exploitable in the e-mail client (scripting is disabled when you're reading messages), but “are potentially risks in browser or browser-like contexts”. ®

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