Adobe Flash attack vector exploits insecure web design
User-supplied malware upload peril
An unpatched security risk involving Adobe Flash creates a possible mechanism for hackers to load exploits onto websites.
The vulnerability was discovered by security researchers at Foreground Security and reported to both Adobe and Google, whose Google Applications, including Gmail, are potentially vulnerable to exploit.
No fix is currently available. However, exploitation of the security flaw would be far from straightforward, especially on Gmail because hackers would have to figure out message IDs in order to create any mischief. Foreground has not detected any attacks using the technique, which affects sites that allow users to upload active content onto trusted domains.
Proof of concept demos on the vulnerability created by Foreground revolve around the misuse of Adobe Flash to potentially booby-trap targeted websites with drive-by download exploits. One (now fixed) Gmail Exploit that revolves around the misuse of Adobe Flash can be found below.
Mike Bailey, the senior researcher who first documented the vulnerability, agreed with that point while adding that Adobe also has a role to play in fixing the problem.
"For website owners, all user-supplied content should be served from a completely separate domain,” Bailey said. "This is already implemented by Yahoo mail, Hotmail, Wikipedia, and many other major websites, but a huge variety of self-contained web applications do not do so."
"The ideal fix should involve Adobe implementing a more sensible origin policy for Flash objects," Bailey added. However, the downside of making Flash more secure in this way is that it would break legitimate (though arguably badly coded) functionality on many sites.
Surfers are advised to mitigate against the possible risk of attack by disabling Flash in their browsers or by using browser plug-ins, such as NoScript for Firefox or ToggleFlash for IE, to reduce their exposure whenever possible.
More detail on the vulnerability can be found in Foreground Security advisory here. ®
Or use the Opera browser, which has a "ClickToFlash"-type mechanism built into it.
you forget about Windows defaults
Windows, and therefore IE, default to execute files based on their content, not on their type (.gif, .pdf, etc). And you're correct, if a website allows me to upload an .EXE file named avatar.gif, then the blame gets spread between the website developers and M$.0
Right, let's see. TFA gives us absolutely *no clue* how this works, and I include the "illustrative" YeChoob embed in that assertion (how the frig am I supposed to interpret that?), so let's go to the linked ComputerWorld article:
"He used the example of a company that lets users upload content to a message forum to explain the process. "If the user forum lets people upload an image for their avatar, someone could upload a malicious Flash file that looks like an avatar image," Bailey said. "Anyone who then views that avatar would be vulnerable to attack.""
Point 1: Why the ready, willing and greased-up FUCK would any site let a user upload a Flash file as an avatar in the first place? I do believe most server-side scripting languages can tell the difference.
Point 2: <img src="/usercontent/dodgyflashfile.swf" /> does not render a Flash object in any browser I know of. I can't see why the swf-masquerading-as-gif possibility is an issue here at all. (Correct me if I'm wrong and browsers actually have become that clever/'tarded.)
I struggle to comprehend the fuckwittedness of any web-dev that could allow themselves to be vulnerable to something like this.