Safari 14: New privacy and security features

Apple has released Safari 14, which features many functional improvements, a Privacy Report that shows all the trackers the browser has neutralized, and and does not support Adobe Flash anymore.

Safari 14 privacy

New features

Safari 14 sports a redesign of the tab bar, which now displays site favicons by default and previews of the contents of some pages (when the user hovers over a tab), and a customizable start page.

It also features improved extension support, as Apple has already put things in motion to allow app developers to easily convert their existing extension into a Safari web extension or build a new one, and support for.

But on to the Safari 14 privacy and security additions:

Privacy Report

The Privacy Report shows the cross-site trackers that Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) prevented from accessing identifying information, and how many and which trackers the visited websites sport. It also shows which entity is behind each tracker.

ITP uses on-device machine learning to identify and block the trackers, and known trackers are independently verified by DuchDuckGo. Safari blocks trackers only if the “Prevent cross-site tracking” option is turned on, and the Privacy Report can only be compiled if users have turned ITP on.

Safari 14 privacy

The report is accessible through the “Safari” tab, via the start page, and via the shield-style icon to the left of the browser’s address bar.

Secure password monitoring

Safari 14 will notify users when one of their saved passwords in iCloud Keychain has shown up in a data breach (iCloud Keychain has to be enabled, of course).

It will also allow them to immediately change the password by pointing them to the correct page for each website (if the admin has specified the page’s URL in the web server’s .well-known directory).

Removed support for Adobe Flash for improved security

Adobe Flash has been a thorn in security-minded users’ and cybersecurity professionals’ side for many years, as its vulnerabilities were often exploited by attackers.

Three years ago, browser makers have announced that they would drop Flash support by the end of 2020, and now the time has come for the move. Adobe Flash will reach end-of-life on December 31, 2020.

Fixed vulnerabilities

Apple has fixed four WebKit vulnerabilities in Safari 14. All can be triggered by the browser processing maliciously crafted web content and three could lead to arbitrary code execution.

More information about and a PoC for the one discovered by Marcin “Icewall” Noga of Cisco Talos can be found here.

Have you patched these top 10 routinely exploited vulnerabilities?

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is urging organizations to patch a slew of old and new software vulnerabilities that are routinely exploited by foreign cyber actors and cyber criminals.

routinely exploited vulnerabilities

“Foreign cyber actors continue to exploit publicly known—and often dated—software vulnerabilities against broad target sets, including public and private sector organizations. Exploitation of these vulnerabilities often requires fewer resources as compared with zero-day exploits for which no patches are available,” the agency noted.

“A concerted campaign to patch these vulnerabilities would introduce friction into foreign adversaries’ operational tradecraft and force them to develop or acquire exploits that are more costly and less widely effective. A concerted patching campaign would also bolster network security by focusing scarce defensive resources on the observed activities of foreign adversaries.”

The most often exploited CVE-numbered vulnerabilities

The list of the ten most often exploited flaws between 2016 and 2019 includes seven affecting Microsoft offerings (Office, Windows, SharePoint, .NET Framework), one affecting Apache Struts, one Adobe Flash Player, and one Drupal.

They are as follows:

IT security professionals are advised to use this list alongside a similar one recently compiled by Recorded Future, which focuses on the ten most exploited vulnerabilities by cybercriminals in 2019.

In addition to all these flaws, CISA points to several others that have been under heavy exploitation in 2020:

Additional warnings and help

CISA has also warned organizations to check for oversights in their Microsoft O365 security configurations (and to implement these recommendations and to start fixing organizational cybersecurity weaknesses they might have.

“March 2020 brought an abrupt shift to work-from-home that necessitated, for many organizations, rapid deployment of cloud collaboration services, such as Microsoft Office 365. Malicious cyber actors are targeting organizations whose hasty deployment of Microsoft O365 may have led to oversights in security configurations and vulnerable to attack,” they noted.

Organizations can apply for CISA’s help in scanning internet-facing systems and web applications for vulnerabilities and misconfigurations – the agency offers free scanning and testing services (more info in the alert).

Which vulnerabilities were most exploited by cybercriminals in 2019?

Which ten software vulnerabilities should you patch as soon as possible (if you haven’t already)?

most exploited vulnerabilities 2019

Table of top exploited CVEs between 2016 and 2019 (repeats are noted by color)

Recorded Future researchers have analyzed code repositories, underground forum postings, dark web sites, closed source reports and data sets comprising of submissions to popular malware repositories to compile a list of the ten most exploited vulnerabilities by cybercriminals in 2019.

The list

The list is comprised of two vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash Player, four vulnerabilities affecting Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser, three MS Office flaws and one WinRAR bug:

Most have been flagged and patched in the last few years – as can be seen by their CVE numbers – but one of them dates as far back as 2012.

The researchers put the popularity of Microsoft vulnerabilities (as compared to Flash bugs) down to a combination of better patching and Flash Player’s impending demise in 2020, and noted the importance of patching Microsoft products in a timely manner.

Among other, more recently patched flaws that made the top 20 list are CVE-2019-0841, a privilege escalation vulnerability in the Windows AppX Deployment Service and CVE-2019-3396, a server-side template injection vulnerability in the Atlassian Confluence Server and Data Center Widget Connector that could be used for remote code execution.

With all of this in mind, they advise admins to prioritize the patching of Microsoft products (and all the aforementioned vulnerabilities), automatically disable Flash Player wherever possible, remove affected software if it’s not needed, and install browser ad-blockers to prevent exploitation via malvertising.