Feeds

Google's cookie crumbles under scripting attack

Taking the biscuit

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Security researchers have unpicked a flaw in Google spreadsheets that allows cookie stealing. The cross-site scripting vulnerability enables attackers to use stolen cookies to access any Google service a user has registered, including accessing a victim's Google mail account.

Google has now plugged the vulnerability, discovered by security researcher Billy Rios. In a blog posting, Rios explains a caching flaw by Google, alongside problems in how browsers handle content-type headers, created a cookie stealing risk. A Google cookie is valid across all its sub domains, a convenience factor that greatly enhances the potential for mischief.

This particular XSS vulnerability on Google's domain takes advantage of how IE determines the content type of the HTTP response being returned by the server. Other browsers have problems in handling content-type headers properly, but this vulnerability is limited to IE.

Rios created a spreadsheet which contained HTML and a string of JavaScript code for viewing a user's cookie. He then saved this spreadsheet and generated a link for the spreadsheet to be served as a text-based CSV file, which IE mistakenly interprets as HTML.

Anyone viewing this doctored spreadsheet would hand over their cookies to Rios, or potentially an attacker, as explained here. Fortunately, Google has now rendered crafted table content as text rather than HTML.

Rios has been active in identifying XSS flaws in Google's web applications. Last week, he published an advisory about a flaw in Google code that lent itself to stealing users' passwords. Prior to that, Rios uncovered vulnerabilities in Google's Picasa, Heise Security adds. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Home Office: Fancy flogging us some SECRET SPY GEAR?
If you do, tell NOBODY what it's for or how it works
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Syrian Electronic Army in news site 'hack' POP-UP MAYHEM
Gigya redirect exploit blamed for pop-rageous ploy
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.