US-CERT Technical Cyber Security Alert TA05-012B -- Microsoft Windows HTML Help ActiveX Contol Cross-Domain Vulnerability

13/01/05, US-CERT Technical Cyber Security Alert TA05-012B -- Microsoft Windows HTML Help ActiveX Contol Cross-Domain Vulnerability
From: CERT Advisory <cert-advisory@cert.org>

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To: cert-advisory@cert.org
Subject: US-CERT Technical Cyber Security Alert TA05-012B -- Microsoft Windows HTML Help ActiveX Contol Cross-Domain Vulnerability
From: CERT Advisory <cert-advisory@cert.org>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 22:45:34 -0500
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Organization: CERT(R) Coordination Center - +1 412-268-7090

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                Technical Cyber Security Alert TA05-012B

  Microsoft Windows HTML Help ActiveX Contol Cross-Domain Vulnerability


   Original release date: January 12, 2005
   Last revised: --
   Source: US-CERT


Systems Affected

     * Windows 98, Me, 2000, XP, and Server 2003

     * Internet Explorer 5.x and 6.x

     * Other Windows programs that use MSHTML


Overview

   The Microsoft Windows HTML Help Activex control contains a
   cross-domain vulnerability that could allow an unauthenticated,
   remote attacker to execute arbitrary commands or code with the
   privileges of the user running the control. The HTML Help control
   can be instantiated by an HTML document loaded in Internet Explorer
   or any other program that uses MSHTML.


I. Description

   The Microsoft Windows HTML Help ActiveX control (hhctrl.ocx) does
   not properly determine the source of windows opened by the Related
   Topics command. If an HTML Help control opens a Related Topics
   window in one domain, and a second control opens a Related Topics
   window using the same window name in a different domain, content
   from the second window is considered to be in the domain of the
   first window. This cross-domain vulnerability allows an attacker in
   one domain to read or modify content or execute script in a
   different domain, including the Local Machine Zone.

   An attacker could exploit this vulnerability against Internet
   Explorer (IE) using a specially crafted web site. Other programs
   that use MSHTML, including Outlook and Outlook Express, could also
   act as attack vectors.

   This vulnerability has been assigned CVE CAN-2004-1043 and is
   described in further detail in VU#972415.


II. Impact

   By convincing a user to view a specially crafted HTML document
   (e.g., a web page or an HTML email message), an attacker could
   execute arbitrary code or commands with the privileges of the
   user. The attacker could also read or modify data in other web
   sites.

   Reports indicate that this vulnerability is being exploited by
   malicious code referred to as Phel.


III. Solution

Install an update

   Install the appropriate update according to Microsoft Security
   Bulletin MS05-001. Note that the update may adversely affect the
   HTML Help system as described in Microsoft Knowledge Base articles
   892641 and 892675.

Workarounds

   A number of workarounds are described in MS05-001 and VU#972415.


Appendix A. References

     * Vulnerability Note VU#972415 -
       <http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/972415>
 
     * Microsoft Security Bulletin MS05-001 -
       <http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms05-001.mspx>
 
     * HTML Help files do not work correctly after you uninstall security
       update 890175 (MS05-001) -
       <http://support.microsoft.com/kb/892641>
 
     * You cannot access HTML Help functionality on some Web sites after
       installing security update MS05-001 -
       <http://support.microsoft.com/kb/892675>

     * Reusing MSHTML -
       <http://msdn.microsoft.com/workshop/browser/hosting/hosting.asp>

     * HTML Help ActiveX Control Overview -
       <http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/
       htmlhelp/html/vsconocxov.asp>

     * Related Topics -
       <http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/
       htmlhelp/html/vsconocxrelatedtopics.asp>

     * About the Browser (Internet Explorer - WebBrowser) -
       <http://msdn.microsoft.com/workshop/browser/overview/Overview.asp>

     * CVE CAN-2004-1043 -
       <http://cve.mitre.org/cgi-bin/cvename.cgi?name=CAN-2004-1043>

     _________________________________________________________________


   Feedback can be directed to the author: Art Manion.

   Send mail to <cert@cert.org>.

   Please include the subject line "TA05-012B Feedback VU#972415".

     _________________________________________________________________


   Copyright 2005 Carnegie Mellon University.

   Terms of use:  <http://www.us-cert.gov/legal.html>

     _________________________________________________________________

   The most recent version of this document can be found at:

     <http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/techalerts/TA05-012B.html>

     _________________________________________________________________


   Revision History

   January 12, 2005: Initial release


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