Simple Yahoo! Mail Cross-Site Scripting (GM#006-MC) Jun 03 2004 01:52PM
GreyMagic Software (security greymagic com)
GreyMagic Security Advisory GM#006-MC

GreyMagic Software, 03 Jun 2004.

Available in HTML format at

Topic: Simple Yahoo! Mail Cross-Site Scripting.

Discovery date: 16 May 2004.

Affected applications:

* Yahoo! web-based email service.


Web-based email services and Yahoo! specifically make tremendous efforts to
sanitize incoming emails from potentially unsafe HTML content. Flawed
filtering of such unsafe content may result in severe consequences that
would occur as soon as a user opens an email for reading, including:

* Theft of login and password.
* Content disclosure of any email in the mailbox.
* Automatically send emails from the mailbox.
* Exploitation of known vulnerabilities in the browser to access the user's
file system and eventually take over the machine.
* Distribution of a web-based email worm.
* Disclosure of all contacts within the address book.


GreyMagic discovered that by sending a maliciously formed email to a Yahoo
user it is possible to circumvent the filter and execute script in the
context of a logged-in Yahoo! user.

A known Cross-Site Scripting weakness is using entities instead of actual
chars, for example: "javascript:alert()". There is also a variation of
that weakness, caused by the way browsers ignore white-space chars in URLs:
script:alert()". Yahoo! properly filters both of these scenarios.

However, a third variation remains unfiltered. It is possible to embed a
javascript URL by using a white-space entity with multiple zero chars in
front of it: "java


The following HTML embedded in an email would show a Yahoo! user's cookie
when opened:



GreyMagic informed Yahoo! of the vulnerability on 20-May-2004. Yahoo!
responded promptly and reported that it patched the vulnerability on

Tested on:

Yahoo! web-based email service.


The information in this advisory and any of its demonstrations is provided
"as is" without warranty of any kind.

GreyMagic Software is not liable for any direct or indirect damages caused
as a result of using the information or demonstrations provided in any part
of this advisory.

- Copyright © 2004 GreyMagic Software.

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