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Netscape finds bug, promises fix

Netscape will post a fix next week for a highly publicized security vulnerability in its Navigator Web browser.

Netscape Communications (NSCP) says it will post a fix next week for a security vulnerability in its Web browser that could allow a malicious hacker to swipe data from computers over the Internet.

The problem was discovered by a Danish programmer who insisted on a higher reward than the standard $1,000 Netscape gives to bug finders as part of its "Bugs Bounty" program. But Netscape engineers and security consultants managed to find the cause of the problem themselves without the aid of the programmer, company spokeswoman Andrea Cook said.

According to Cook, Netscape discovered the source of the problem by analyzing a computer belonging to PC Magazine, a publication that confirmed, along with CNNfn, the existence of the bug with the help of the Danish programmer, Christian Orellana.

"Netscape engineers have found and recreated the reported bug in Netscape Communicator and Navigator 2.0 and 3.0," Cook said. "We have created a fix and are taking it through extensive internal and external testing and will release it next week."

The company said the bug affects products on all of the operating systems that it supports, including Windows 95, NT, Windows 3.1, Macintosh, and Unix. Next week, the company will provide a fix for the Windows versions of Communicator.

Netscape has not yet shipped Mac and Unix versions of Communicator but said the final versions will include the fixes when they are released later this month.

The company added it would focus on fixes for older versions of its Web browser after it completes the fix for Communicator.