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Graphics Security Technology

WebGL Poses New Security Problems 178

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the but-this-time-its-in-three-dee dept.
Julie188 writes "Researchers are warning that the WebGL standard undermines existing operating system security protections and offers up new attack surfaces. To enable rendering of demanding 3D animations, WebGL allows web sites to execute shader code directly on a system's graphics card. This can allow an attacker to exploit security vulnerabilities in the graphics card driver and even inject malicious code onto the system."
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WebGL Poses New Security Problems

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  • Info and thoughts (Score:5, Informative)

    by TopSpin (753) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @03:51PM (#36086796) Journal

    WebGL is a Javascript expression of OpenGL ES 2.0, the same OpenGL edition that appears on Apple's iOS and recent versions of Android. OpenGL ES 2.0 is essentially OpenGL 2.0 with the fixed function pipeline removed. This reduces the size of the API substantially.

    Some may remember the little ARM11 based computer that appeared [slashdot.org] last week supports OpenGL ES 2.0. OpenGL ES 2.0 is also the choice of Wayland developers. There seems to be a big convergence happening around this particular edition of OpenGL due to embedded GPUs

    WebGL is manifested as a context of a HTML5 canvas element. Javascript has been extended with new data types to provide aligned, dense arrays for loading vertex attributes into the GL. WebGL allows vertex and fragment shader code to be loaded into the GL.

    The end result is very high performance graphics driven by Javascript hosted in a browser. WebGL integrates with the browser in some convenient ways; texture data is loaded from Javascript image objects and CSS can apply 3D transforms, for example.

    WebGL has been supported in experimental form by Webkit and Mozilla since late 2010. Opera also supports WebGL. Microsoft is no where to be found.

    Operating systems compromise security for the sake of GPUs. Obviously, exposing graphics subsystems to inevitably malicious code will get machines compromised. I think Google, Mozilla, et al. should adopt the 'no-script' paradigm for this stuff and require the operator to explicitly enable WebGL content case by case. The graphics subsystem will never prioritize security over performance so securing these code paths well enough for public exposure will never happen.

    It would be nice if they gave this some thought before millions of people get owned and WebGL gets a huge black eye......

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