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Researchers: Beware the IE Cache on a Public Terminal




Researchers: Beware the IE Cache on a Public Terminal
Researchers: Beware the IE Cache on a Public Terminal



http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2236192,00.asp 

By Ryan Naraine
eWEEK.com
December 17, 2007 

If you use IE to access Gmail on public terminals, you may be leaving a 
lot of sensitive information exposed in the browser's cache.

If you use Internet Explorer to access Google's Gmail on public 
terminals, you may be leaving a lot of sensitive information exposed in 
the browser's cache, according to a warning from Web application 
security specialist Cenzic.

Cenzic issued an alert for what it argues are vulnerabilities in Gmail 
and IE that could "severely impact e-mail systems and user privacy."

However, Microsoft has downplayed the risk, insisting this is "not a 
product vulnerability."

Cenzic spokesman Mandeep Khera said his company's researchers figured 
out a way to use CSRF (cross-site request forgery) in combination with 
the improper use of caching directives to hijack Gmail credentials from 
the IE cache.

The issue is specific to Gmail on IE and Cenzic believes both Microsoft 
and Google should apply fixes to secure customers, especially those 
using computer kiosks in a library or Internet caf.

After a "thorough investigation," Microsoft has dismissed the threat as 
overblown. "In the scenario in question an attacker would need 
authenticated access to the system in order to modify files located in 
the cache. With that level of access, an attacker could install 
malicious programs that would have more impact than the scenarios 
described," a Microsoft spokesman said in a statement sent to eWEEK.

Cenzic's Khera acknowledged that the hacker must have physical access to 
the system to launch an attack but insists it presents a real cross-site 
scripting risk to end users who use public terminals.

"I understand Microsoft's position but that doesn't mean it's not a 
vulnerability. It's still a serious issue that needs to be patched," 
Khera said in an interview.

In the absence of a patch, Khera recommends that users disable caching 
of pages at the browser level, which will prevent any page from being 
cached for later viewing. This workaround may adversely affect the 
browsing experience, he warned.

Technical details of the issue has been sent to the US-CERT (U.S. 
Computer Emergency Response Team).


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