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Category:   Application (Web Browser)  >   Microsoft Internet Explorer Vendors:   Microsoft
Microsoft Internet Explorer Trusted Domain Default Settings Facilitate Silent Installation of Executables
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1008558
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   GENERIC-MAP-NOMATCH   (Links to External Site)
Date:  Dec 27 2003
Impact:   Modification of system information, Modification of user information

Description:   An exploit method was reported in Microsoft Internet Explorer, illustrating IE's weak default settings for the 'Trusted Site' security zone. A remote user can create HTML that will cause an arbitrary executable to be silently downloaded to and installed on a target user's system.

http-equiv reported that a remote user can create HTML that, when loaded by a target user, will trigger the flaw and install arbitrary code to the target user's system, potentially in an arbitrary security domain.

With the assistance of a cross-site scripting flaw in a web site designated as a 'trusted site' domain, a remote user can display HTML containing a '<object classid="" codebase="">' tag to install an executable file within an arbitrary security zone [if a web site in the security zone suffers from cross-site scripting flaws]. If the site is in the 'Internet' zone, the target user may be prompted for installation, but if the site is in the 'trusted site' domain, the target user will not be prompted, according to the report.

The executable will reportedly be installed in the Temporary Internet File directory associated with a trusted zone.

Impact:   A remote user can cause arbitrary binaries to be silently downloaded and installed on the target user's system.
Solution:   No solution was available at the time of this entry.
Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Access control error
Underlying OS:  Windows (Any)

Message History:   None.

 Source Message Contents

Subject:  [Full-Disclosure] DANGER ZONE: Internet Explorer

Friday, December 26, 2003

Technical 'silent delivery and installation of an executable on a 
target computer. No client input other than viewing and web site'.  
This may be achieved with the Internet Explorer series of so-
called "browsers", all security settings set to HIGH !

[***premium advertising space: your ad here for a nominal monthly 
fee contact***]

Not so simple:

The current trend is to dismiss, pooh pooh, the never-ending ongoing 
[almost daily] discoveries of vulnerabilities in the Internet 
Explorer series of browsers. So much so there remains in the account 
a balance of several full and complete remote compromises [courtesy 
of:  Liu Die Yu
icrosoft_ie/index.html] summarily dismissed as "well the internet is 
a big bad place, don't surf to unknown sites, and sites you do know 
and trust, place in the Trusted Zone. You'll be fine. 'Trust Us !"".

Oh. Okay:

The so-called "Trusted Site" zone setting in the Internet Explorer 
series of browsers, is set to LOW on default [screenshot: 28KB]. What that means 
is 'minimal safeguards and prompts are provided...most content is 
downloaded and run without prompts'. So who do [can] we trust?

For example, we input into the so-called Trusted Zone, the 
manufacturer commonly known as Microsoft Dot Com [screenshot: 15KB]. In fact this peculiar 
method and remedy of participating in the World Wide Web is 
recommended by the brains behind the the manufacturer commonly known 
as Microsoft Dot Com.

Now what:

There is a small yet critical bug in the mailing list software 
called LISTSERV from  A trivial yet important 
ability to effect the common so-called 'cross site scripting' [see:] 'malicious html tag 
embedding in client web requests': uses the mailing list software called LISTSERV. So do 
some 300,000 combined public and local others [Note: These numbers 
do not include Intranet servers]. Banks. Governments. Schools etc  


So what that means is if we 'trust' our government, or trust our 
bank or our school or even our software 'manufacturer', we are 
advised to place everyone else in the 'restricted zone' and our 
trusted sites in the 'trusted zone' where:  'minimal safeguards and 
prompts are provided...most content is downloaded and run without 

20SRC=javascript:document['write'](location)>&T=malware is in the 

What that means is we can install via 
<object classid="" codebase=""> any executable file from within the 
same domain as we see fit. The same domain in the so-called 'Trusted 
Site' zone that is.  Be it *.gov. *, *.edu et cetera.

Technically our codebase cannot point to a remote site outside the 
zone as it will be cached in the Temporary Internet File [TIF] and 
will prompt for install as that remote site is in the Internet Zone. 
However, theoretically we can play havoc within our *.gov and .edu 
domains on one another.  More importantly, we might very well be 
able to write our entire Self-Executing HTML file into all of these 

MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Location:fi le:///m alware.exe
Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64

<o bjec t CLAS SID="CLSID:5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 - 5 5 5 5" 
code base="mhtml:'+path+'">

In which case the entire package will cached in the TIF under the 
disguise of a so-called 'TRUSTED ZONE' !

Don't trust us. Trust them.

[***less than premium advertising space: your ad here for a nominal 
monthly fee contact***]

Happy New Year and be safe out there. It's not what it all seems.

End Call


Full-Disclosure - We believe in it.


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