Google patches critical bugs in Chrome web browser

Google patched 11 vulnerabilities in Chrome this week, including one of the rare bugs the company has deemed critical in its browser.

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Google patched 11 vulnerabilities in Chrome this week, including one of the rare bugs the company has deemed critical in its browser.

One of the 11 bugs was rated "critical," Google's highest threat ranking, nine were tagged as "high" and another was labelled "medium." The critical vulnerability was the sixth with that ranking Google has patched so far this year.

Google identified that bug as one involving "memory corruption in vertex handing," referring to code that adds special effects such as textures to 3D shapes. The company credited reporting the bug to Michael Braithwaite, a senior software engineer with Turbulenz Limited, an online gaming platform developer. Braithwaite's bug affected only the Windows version of Chrome.

Also in Monday's collection were four vulnerabilities identified as "use-after-free" bugs, a type of memory management flaw that can be exploited to inject attack code.

As it always does, Google locked down the Chrome bug tracking database to prevent outsiders from obtaining details on the 11 flaws. The company bars the public from the database to give users time to update, sometimes waiting months before lifting the embargo.

Google paid $8,337 in bounties to seven researchers who reported eight of the vulnerabilities patched Monday, including $1,337 to Braithwaite for the critical bug and $2,500 to frequent contributor, Sergey Glazunov, for two vulnerabilities rated high. Yesterday's bounty total was less than half the record $17,000 that Google paid out earlier this month. So far in 2011, Google has paid out just over $120,000 to outside researchers.

Of the other three vulnerabilities, two were credited to a member of the Chrome security team and another was reported through the Zero Day Initiative (ZDI), a bounty programme run by HP TippingPoint. Neither Google nor Mozilla, the other browser maker that rewards researchers, pay a bounty for bugs submitted via a broker like ZDI.

The just patched Chrome can be downloaded for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux from Google's website. Users already running the browser will be updated automatically.

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