Open source data compression is unsecure

A security flaw in a widely-used open-source data compression technology could put users at risk of attack.

A security flaw in a widely-used open-source data compression technology could put users at risk of attack.

Security research company Secunia said a buffer overflow vulnerability exists in the open-source “zlib” standard.

Using malicious code an attacker could take control of a user’s PC if it uses the compression technology.

Zlib is used in a variety of open-source and proprietary software applications, including Linux, FreeBSD, Microsoft Office, MSN Messenger, and Internet Explorer.

Microsoft said up-to-date versions of its software did not appear to be affected, and patches for the likes of SUSE Linux, Red Hat and Debian already exist.

The flaw is said to affect version 1.2.2 of zlib, and its creators are already working on an update which will not be vulnerable to the buffer overflow flaw.

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