[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

The Anonymous Bounty Claim

> sameer wrote:
> > Phil Karlton wrote:

> > I am not quite sure what problem you are talking about? NFS and MITM
> > ftp attacks?

> 	This character has been going on and oon regarding some big
> hole he apparently found in netscape, but no one else on the list
> seems to have noticed anything, or replicated any alleged claims he
> may have made. Maybe if the person in question would repost this
> alleged post describing some massive hole, it would help us all.

I am not technically competent to judge if his/her claim is worth
reposting, but here it is, clipped from the very long Friday 13
rant, as found at Raph's index site (Subject: Bugs Bounty??...shhh...
I'm huntin wa'bits... From:[email protected]).


<long first part deleted; general aspects on the Bounty Hunt>

And this is where we introduce a little old document called pushpull.html.
from Netscape's Web site. It's titled: An Exploration of Dynamic

> The Great Idea
> The general idea is that browsers have always been driven by user
> input. You click on a link or an icon or an image and some data comes
> to you. As soon as people saw they could do that, they wanted to give
> a server the ability to push new data down to the browser. (An
> obvious example is a stock trader who wants to see new quote data
> every 5 minutes.) Up until now, that hasn't been possible.

And I can think of many people who would _also_ like to push down data
to a browser. But, that's not a great idea. Guess what?? It's not even 
a good idea. It might even be a bad idea.

> Netscape Navigator 1.1 gives content creators and server
> administrators two new open standards-based mechanisms for making this
> work. The mechanisms are similar in nature and effect, but
> complementary. They are: 
> Server push -- the server sends down a chunk of data; the
> browser display the data but leaves the connection open; whenever
> the server wants it sends more data and the browser displays it,
> leaving the connection open; at some later time the server sends
> down yet more data and the browser displays it; etc.

Yes, the client "processes data" and then possibly displays it, while in

> Client pull -- the server sends down a chunk of data,
> including a directive (in the HTTP response or the document
> header) that says "reload this data in 5 seconds", or "go load
> this other URL in 10 seconds". After the specified amount of
> time has elapsed, the client does what it was told -- either
> reloading the current data or getting new data.

Hmm. Netscape's clients blindly trust and follows server's instructions
and does what it is told to do. If it's told to load a particular
document in five seconds. It does that. It dances to the server's
instructions. Something which should cause any Security Administrator's
hair to stand on end, as the server takes control of the client's machine 
and "manipulates it".

> In server push, the magic is accomplished by using a variant of the
> MIME message format "multipart/mixed", which lets a single message (or
> HTTP response) contain many data items. In client pull, the magic is
> accomplished by an HTTP response header (or equivalent HTML tag) that
> tells the client what to do after some specified time delay. 
> For server push we use a variant of "multipart/mixed" called
> "multipart/x-mixed-replace". The "x-" indicates this type is
> experimental. The "replace" indicates that each new data block will
> cause the previous data block to be replaced -- that is, new data will
> be displayed instead of (not in addition to) old data. 
> So here's an example of "multipart/x-mixed-replace" in action: 

>>Content-type: multipart/x-mixed-replace; boundary=ThisRandomString
>>Content-type: text/plain
>>Data for the first object.
>>Content-type: text/plain
>>Data for the second and last object.
> The key to the use of this technique is that the server does not push
> the whole "multipart/x-mixed-replace" message down all at once but
> rather sends down each successive data block whenever it sees
> fit. 

And this is the problem. We have a pipe. And we have a server making a
decision when it will send the next data block. I guess the server could
also decide dynamically what that data block is going to be once it has
opened it's pipe to the client. 

That is way too much trust for a client to place in a server that it 
doesn't know if it can trust.

> The HTTP connection stays open all the time, and the server
> pushes down new data blocks as rapidly or as infrequently as it wants,
> and in between data blocks the browser simply sits and waits for more
> data in the current window. The user can even go off and do other
> things in other windows; when the server has more data to send, it
> just pushes another data block down the pipe, and the appropriate
> window updates itself. 

Yep, the appropriate window just "updates" itself at the command of 
the server. A good faith update ... or let's call it a good faith 

> So here's exactly what happens:
> Following in the tradition of the standard "multipart/mixed",
> "multipart/x-mixed-replace" messages are composed using a unique
> boundary line that separates each data object. Each data object
> has its own headers, allowing for an object-specific content type
> and other information to be specified.

Let's emphasize that what we have is a slave client at one end of a pipe
accepting an object-specific content-type from any server. 

This is not within the tradition of multipart/mixed. 

And this is a problem.

> The specific behavior of "multipart/x-mixed-replace" is that each
> new data object replaces the previous data object. The browser
> gets rid of the first data object and instead displays the second
> data object. 
> A "multipart/x-mixed-replace" message doesn't have to end! That
> is, the server can just keep the connection open forever and send
> down as many new data objects as it wants. The process will then
> terminate if the user is no longer displaying that data stream in
> a browser window or if the browser severs the connection
> (e.g. the user presses the "Stop" button). We expect this will
> be the typical way people will use server push. 
> The previous document will be cleared and the browser will begin
> displaying the next document when the "Content-type" header is
> found, or at the end of the headers otherwise, for a new data block.
> The current data block (document) is considered finished when the
> next message boundary is found. 
> Together, the above two items mean that the server should push
> down the pipe: a set of headers (most likely including
> "Content-type"), the data itself, and a separator (message
> boundary). When the browser sees the separator, it knows to sit
> still and wait indefinitely for the next data block to arrive. 

Now let's play with the prior example. Let's say that we utilized
different types of objects. I'll use multipart/parallel and

>>Content-type: multipart/x-mixed-replace; boundary=ThisRandomString
>>Content-type: application/postscript
>>Data for the first object
>>Content-Type: multipart/parallel; boundary=ThisSecondRandomString
>>Content-Type: application/postscript
>>Data for the second object
>>Content-type: application/postscript

I think that the foregoing explains itself without me having to draw any
more maps, than is absolutely necessary. The first data object sent is
application/postscript. The second object is multipart/parallel. 

And it's where we conflict with federal requirements:

> b. Unauthorized manipulation of the computer and its associated
> peripheral devices."[8, sec. I B.3]

And I think that this is applicable across the entire product line.

I wonder if this makes me eligible for a bounty for each product where 
there is this Security Bug?? That would be very chivalrous of Netscape
to offer me that. Then maybe I could get a real computer rather than 
this crufty old Mac Plus (a yellow one) and my 2400 baud modem... and 
then, I might just be able to do some virtually real hunting.

Alice de 'nonymous ... (doing a bad impression of Elmer Fudd with 
thoughts of Bugs Bounty in his lil mind.)

...just another one of those...

P.S. And yes I brought this whole issue (tangentially) to the 
attention of netscape.com yesterday afternoon. I think I asked 
whether they were going to have a formal specification and register
their x-mixed-replace with IANA. They haven't gotten to my email
yet, (I think). Or maybe, I'm in the Bulk response group. <shrug>

P.P.S. I give permission to have this propogate freely through 
the cyber-aethyr. All other rights are of course reserved.
C. S. U. M. O. C. L. U. N. E.


end quote