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HistorySep 29, 2023 - 11:15 a.m.

Update Chrome now! Google patches another actively exploited vulnerability

Malwarebytes blog
stable channel
version 117.0.5938.132
security fixes
actively exploited vulnerability
heap buffer overflow
vp8 encoding
vulnerability details
security flaws
cybersecurity risks
malwarebytes vulnerability and patch management





Google has updated the Stable Channel for Chrome to 117.0.5938.132 for Windows, Mac and Linux. This update includes ten security fixes. According to Google there is an active exploit for one of the patched vulnerabilities, which means cybercriminals are aware of the vulnerability and are using it.

The easiest way to update Chrome is to allow it to update automatically, which basically uses the same method as outlined below but does not require your attention. But you can end up lagging behind if you never close the browser or if something goes wrong–such as an extension stopping you from updating the browser.

So, it doesn't hurt to check now and then. And now would be a good time, given the severity of the vulnerabilities in this batch. My preferred method is to have Chrome open the page chrome://settings/help which you can also find by clicking Settings > About Chrome.

If there is an update available, Chrome will notify you and start downloading it. Then all you have to do is relaunch the browser in order for the update to complete.

screenshot of up-to-date Chrome

After the update, the version should be 117.0.5938.132 for Windows, or later.

Google never gives out a lot of information about vulnerabilities, for obvious reasons. Access to bug details and links may be kept restricted until a majority of users are updated with a fix. However, from the update page we can learn a few things.

The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) database lists publicly disclosed computer security flaws. The zero-day patched in this update is listed as CVE-2023-5217, which is described as a heap buffer overflow in vp8 encoding in libvpx.

A buffer overflow is a type of software vulnerability that exists when an area of memory within a software application reaches its address boundary and writes into an adjacent memory region. In software exploit code, two common areas that are targeted for overflows are the stack and the heap.

The heap is an area of memory made available for use by the program. The program can request blocks of memory for its use within the heap. In order to allocate a block of some size, the program makes an explicit request by calling the heap allocation operation.

The open source video codec library libvpx serves as the reference software implementation for the VP8 and VP9 video coding formats. Reportedly, the weakness lies in the VP8 encoding part of the library. The exploitation occurs when a program uses one method to allocate or initialize a resource, but an incompatible method then accesses that resource, potentially providing unsecured access to the browser's memory.

As we have seen, such attacks can be leveraged in an attack chain to fully compromise a vulnerable device. And given the huge Chrome userbase, this makes the browser an attractive target. Libvpx, as part of the WebM Project, is used in many other applications, so there could be more updates coming your way.

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