Font Security: Unveiling Vulnerabilities in Graphic Design

Australian graphics powerhouse, Canva, has embarked on a mission to fortify font security, uncovering three critical vulnerabilities lurking in the typography realm. In a recent revelation on its engineering blog, Canva disclosed its relentless pursuit of enhancing security measures across its processes and tools, delving into the often-overlooked terrain of font security.

Uncovering Vulnerabilities

Diving into the heart of font manipulation, Canva’s scrutiny unearthed three type-related vulnerabilities. Among them, CVE-2023-45139 stands out with a high severity rating of 7.5/10. This bug, identified within FontTools, a Python library for font manipulation, exploited an untrusted XML file to produce a subsetted font containing sensitive data.

The Complexity of Font Security

Two additional vulnerabilities, CVE-2024-25081 and CVE-2024-25082, rated at 4.2/10, shed light on the intricacies of font security. These vulnerabilities, linked to naming conventions and compression techniques, underscored the challenges posed by complex font structures and file handling.

A Closer Look at Vulnerabilities

Canva’s research revealed the potential for malicious exploits in tools like FontForge, capable of executing shell commands and accessing unauthorized files. Moreover, vulnerabilities stemming from font archive handling raised concerns about the integrity of font processing, emphasizing the need for robust security measures.

Addressing Font Security Challenges

Acknowledging the pervasive nature of font security vulnerabilities, Canva emphasized the urgency for comprehensive research and heightened awareness within the design community. Drawing parallels to Google’s scrutiny of font security in 2015, Canva advocates for treating fonts as untrusted inputs, urging stakeholders to prioritize security in typography.

The Road Ahead

As corporations and individuals continue to demand diverse typography solutions, the landscape of font security remains fraught with potential risks. Canva’s call for further research underscores the ongoing need for vigilance and innovation in safeguarding graphic design assets against emerging threats.

In conclusion, font security emerges as a critical frontier in the realm of graphic design, requiring concerted efforts from industry players to fortify defenses and mitigate vulnerabilities effectively. Canva’s findings serve as a wake-up call, urging stakeholders to prioritize font security in their quest for creative expression and digital innovation.


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