new version of the Opera browser closes several security holes that could have enabled an attacker to execute arbitrary code or launch cross-domain scripting attacks.

The new version, dubbed Opera 9.64, fixed an “extremely severe” issue in which specially crafted JPEG images could cause Opera to corrupt memory and crash, leaving it vulnerable to arbitrary code execution, according to the Opera Windows Changelog.

Other issues addressed included a fix for a problem with plug-ins which could be used to enable cross-domain scripting. The details were not disclosed for this, as well as another issue labeled as “moderately severe.” Opera promised that details will be disclosed at a later date.

Also, support was added for Data Execution Prevention (DEP) for both Windows XP SP2 (or higher) and Windows Server 2003 SP1.

Starting with this release, Opera on Windows supports "Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR)," which is available in Vista. Together with DEP, ASLR forms a second line of defense should an application run into a serious fault that would normally cause it to crash.

“Of course that should just not happen in the first place, but you can never completely rule out programming errors,” said Claudio Santambrogio, QA Desktop Test Manager at Opera in a blog post. “Depending on the exact nature of the fault, an attacker can sometimes exploit it and try to take over your system. DEP and ASLR make that a lot harder.”