John Heasman of NGSSoftware has discovered a high risk vulnerability in Sun
Microsystem's Java Web Start that ships with the JRE and JDK on Windows
The vulnerability affects the following version of Java Web Start:
Java Web Start in JDK and JRE 5.0 Update 11 and earlier
Java Web Start in SDK and JRE 1.4.2_13 and earlier
This vulnerability permits an untrusted Java Web Start application to
overwrite any file that can be accessed under the application user context.
This ultimately enables an untrusted application to break out of the sandbox
by modifying the user's Java security policy. An untrusted application
could be launched via a malicious web page.
The JNLP API defines a set of services that bypass the security sandbox to
enable some common client operations. The BasicService is used to discover
the application's codebase. Then, the PersistenceService caches content on
the local hard drive, keyed to a URL that is relative to the application's
base. The name/value pairs provided by the PersistenceService are similar to
browser cookies. The Java Web Start implementation honours this legacy by
naming the pairs "muffins".
Arbitrary files can be written to due to a directory traversal flaw in the
This issue has now been resolved; further details are available at:
NGSSoftware Insight Security Research
+44(0)208 401 0070
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