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TUCoPS :: Browsers :: ciach038.txt

Internet Explorer 3x Vulnerabilities




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             __________________________________________________________

                       The U.S. Department of Energy
                    Computer Incident Advisory Capability
                           ___  __ __    _     ___
                          /       |     /_\   /
                          \___  __|__  /   \  \___
             __________________________________________________________

                             INFORMATION BULLETIN

                      Internet Explorer 3.x Vulnerabilities

March 10, 1997 22:00 GMT                                          Number H-38a
______________________________________________________________________________
PROBLEM:       Arbitrary commands may be executed on a Web client system using 
               Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.x. 
PLATFORM:      Windows 95, Windows NT 4.0
DAMAGE:        A Web server can potentially destroy or manipulate data on a 
               visiting client system. 
SOLUTION:      Install the patch referenced below 
______________________________________________________________________________
VULNERABILITY  These are potentially serious vulnerabilities that should be 
ASSESSMENT:    addressed as soon as possible. 
______________________________________________________________________________


Several security vulnerabilities has been discovered in Microsoft Internet
Explorer 3.0 and 3.01 for Windows 95 and NT. The vulnerabilities allows an
arbitary program to be executed on a user's machine when accessing a malicious
Web site. For example, selecting a URL on a Web site could cause the standard
Windows calculator to start executing. Other programs, such as format or
deltree, might also be executed, which can be more malicious in nature.
These programs are executed without permission by the user - the standard
security mechanisms provided with Internet Explorer are bypassed completely.

These problems are unrelated to ActiveX or Java, common sources of security
concern. Rather, these vulnerabilities takes advantage of two features of the
Windows 95/NT4.0 interface - shortcuts and hyperlinks. Shortcuts are files
ending with a .LNK extension, and provide a means of referencing another
file on a system. Windows hyperlinks are files ending with a .URL extension,
and provide a quick jump to a URL on the Internet. When files of these types
are placed on a Web site, they may potentially execute an arbitary command
on the client's computer when accessed through a URL. The arbitary command
(and path to the command) must be known ahead of time, but many key system
programs are kept in standard locations, so this may be easily guessed.

Microsoft has addressed the problems with a patch on their Web site at:

     http://www.microsoft.com/ie/security/update.htm


_______________________________________________________________________________

CIAC wishes to acknowledge the contributions of Paul Greene, Geoggrey Elliot,
and Brian Morin of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Microsoft for the 
information contained in this bulletin.
_______________________________________________________________________________


CIAC, the Computer Incident Advisory Capability, is the computer
security incident response team for the U.S. Department of Energy
(DOE) and the emergency backup response team for the National
Institutes of Health (NIH). CIAC is located at the Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory in Livermore, California. CIAC is also a founding
member of FIRST, the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams, a
global organization established to foster cooperation and coordination
among computer security teams worldwide.

CIAC has recently formed a new incident response team with CERT and NIST,
called FedCIRC. FedCIRC provides computer security services and resources
to federal civilian agencies. You can find out more about FedCIRC
at http://fedcirc.llnl.gov.

CIAC services are available to DOE, DOE contractors, and the NIH. CIAC
can be contacted at:
    Voice:    +1 510-422-8193
    FAX:      +1 510-423-8002
    STU-III:  +1 510-423-2604
    E-mail:   ciac@llnl.gov

For emergencies and off-hour assistance, DOE, DOE contractor sites,
and the NIH may contact CIAC 24-hours a day. During off hours (5PM -
8AM PST), call the CIAC voice number 510-422-8193 and leave a message,
or call 800-759-7243 (800-SKY-PAGE) to send a Sky Page. CIAC has two
Sky Page PIN numbers, the primary PIN number, 8550070, is for the CIAC
duty person, and the secondary PIN number, 8550074 is for the CIAC
Project Leader.

Previous CIAC notices, anti-virus software, and other information are
available from the CIAC Computer Security Archive.

   World Wide Web:      http://ciac.llnl.gov/
   Anonymous FTP:       ciac.llnl.gov (128.115.19.53)
   Modem access:        +1 (510) 423-4753 (28.8K baud)
                        +1 (510) 423-3331 (28.8K baud)

CIAC has several self-subscribing mailing lists for electronic
publications:
1. CIAC-BULLETIN for Advisories, highest priority - time critical
   information and Bulletins, important computer security information;
2. CIAC-NOTES for Notes, a collection of computer security articles;
3. SPI-ANNOUNCE for official news about Security Profile Inspector
   (SPI) software updates, new features, distribution and
   availability;
4. SPI-NOTES, for discussion of problems and solutions regarding the
   use of SPI products.

Our mailing lists are managed by a public domain software package
called ListProcessor, which ignores E-mail header subject lines. To
subscribe (add yourself) to one of our mailing lists, send the
following request as the E-mail message body, substituting
CIAC-BULLETIN, CIAC-NOTES, SPI-ANNOUNCE or SPI-NOTES for list-name and
valid information for LastName FirstName and PhoneNumber when sending

E-mail to ciac-listproc@llnl.gov:
        subscribe list-name LastName, FirstName PhoneNumber
  e.g., subscribe ciac-notes OHara, Scarlett W. 404-555-1212 x36

You will receive an acknowledgment containing address, initial PIN,
and information on how to change either of them, cancel your
subscription, or get help.

PLEASE NOTE: Many users outside of the DOE, ESnet, and NIH computing
communities receive CIAC bulletins.  If you are not part of these
communities, please contact your agency's response team to report
incidents. Your agency's team will coordinate with CIAC. The Forum of
Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) is a world-wide
organization. A list of FIRST member organizations and their
constituencies can be obtained via WWW at http://www.first.org/.

This document was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an
agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States
Government nor the University of California nor any of their
employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any
legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or
usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process
disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately
owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial products,
process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or
otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement,
recommendation or favoring by the United States Government or the
University of California. The views and opinions of authors expressed
herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States
Government or the University of California, and shall not be used for
advertising or product endorsement purposes.

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