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  Microsoft Java VM multiple bugs

From:MICROSOFT <secure_(at)_microsoft.com>
Date:14.12.2002
Subject:Microsoft Security Bulletin MS02-069: Flaw in Microsoft VM Could Enable System Compromise (810030)

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Title:      Flaw in Microsoft VM Could Enable System
           Compromise (810030)
Date:       11 December 2002
Software:   Microsoft VM
Impact:     Eight vulnerabilities, the most serious of which
           would enable an attacker to gain control over
           another user's system.
Max Risk:   Critical
Bulletin:   MS02-069

Microsoft encourages customers to review the Security Bulletins at:
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/MS02-069.asp
http://www.microsoft.com/security/security_bulletins/ms02-069.asp.
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Issue:
======
The Microsoft VM is a virtual machine for the Win32(r) operating
environment. The Microsoft
VM shipped in most versions of Windows (a complete list is available
in the FAQ), as well as
in most versions of Internet Explorer.

A new version of the Microsoft VM is available, which includes all
previously released fixes
for the VM, as well as fixes for eight newly reported security
issues. The attack vectors
for all of the new issues would likely be the same. An attacker would
create a web page
that, when opened, exploits the desired vulnerability, and either
host it on a web page or
send it to a user as an HTML mail.

The newly reported security issues are as follows:
- A security vulnerability through which an untrusted
  Java applet could access COM objects. By design, COM
  objects should only be available to trusted Java
  programs because of the functionality they expose. COM
  objects are available that provide functionality through
  which an attacker could take control of the system.
- A pair of vulnerabilities that, although having
  different underlying causes, would have the same effect,
  namely, disguising the actual location of the applet's
  codebase. By design, a Java applet that resides on user
  storage or a network share has read access to the folder
  it resides in and all folders below it. The
  vulnerabilities provide methods by which an applet
  located on a web site could misrepresent the location of
  its codebase, to indicate that it resided instead on the
  user's local system or a network share.
- A vulnerability that could enable an attacker to construct
  an URL that, when parsed, would load a Java applet from
  one web site but misrepresent it as belonging to another
  web site. The result would be that the attacker's applet
  would run in the other site's domain. Any information the
  user provided to it could be relayed back to the attacker.
- A vulnerability that results because the Microsoft VM
  doesn't prevent applets from calling the JDBC APIs - a
  set of APIs that provide database access methods. By
  design, these APIs provide functionality to add, change,
  delete or modify database contents, subject only to the
  user's permissions.
- A vulnerability through which an attacker could
  temporarily prevent specified Java objects from being
  loaded and run. A legacy security mechanism known as the
  Standard Security Manager provides the ability to impose
  restrictions on Java applets, up to and including
  preventing them from running altogether. However, the VM
  does not adequately regulate access to the SSM, with the
  result that an attacker's applet could add other Java
  objects to the "banned" list.
- A vulnerability through which an attacker could learn a
  user's username on their local system. The vulnerability
  results because one particular system property, user.dir,
  should not be available to untrusted applets but, through
  a flaw, is. While knowing a username would not in itself
  pose a security risk, it could be useful for
  reconnaissance purposes.
- A vulnerability that results because it's possible for a
  Java applet to perform an incomplete instantiation of
  another Java object. The effect of doing so would be to
  cause the containing application - Internet Explorer - to
  fail.

Mitigating Factors:
====================
All of the vulnerabilities share a pair of common mitigating factors:
- The web-based attack vector would be blocked if the user
  had disabled Java applets in the Internet Explorer
  security zone in which the attacker's web site rendered.
- The email vector would be blocked if the user were running
  any of several mail clients. Specifically, Outlook
  Express 6 and Outlook 2002 (which ships as part of Office
  XP) disable Java by default, and Outlook 98 and 2000
  disable it if the Outlook Email Security Update has been
  installed.

COM Object Access Vulnerability:
- The vulnerability represents a target of opportunity only.
  The attacker would have no means of ensuring that
  sensitive data would be located in system memory, cookies,
  the clipboard, or other locations.

CODEBASE Spoofing Vulnerabilities:
- The attacker's access to files, including those on remote
  shares, would be limited to those of the user. If the
  user had only limited permissions, so would the attacker.

Domain Spoofing Vulnerability:
- The vulnerability could only be exploited if the user
  visited the attacker's site en route to visiting a
  third-party site.
- The effect of exploiting the vulnerability would apply
  only to the current web session.

JDBC API Vulnerability:
- To exploit this vulnerability, the attacker would need
  to know the names of each data source he or she wanted
  to access. In most cases, this would require the attacker
  to have insider knowledge of the user's network.
- The attacker would gain only the user's own permissions
  to the data sources. For instance, if the user had only
  read access to a particular database, so would the
  attacker.

Standard Security Manager Access Vulnerability:
- The effect of exploiting this vulnerability would only
  persist during the current browser session.
- The vulnerability provides no means of modifying an
  applet's functioning - only preventing it from running.

User.dir Exposure Vulnerability:
- Knowing a user's username would not, by itself, enable
  an attacker to take any action against the user. The
  sole value in learning this information would be for
  reconnaissance purposes, in the hope of using it in
  some future, unspecified attack.

Incomplete Java object Instantiation Vulnerability:
- This vulnerability would only enable the attacker to
  cause Internet Explorer to fail - it would not enable
  the attacker to cause Windows itself, or any other
  applications, to fail.
- The user could restore normal operation by restarting
  the browser.

Risk Rating:
============
- COM Object Access Vulnerability: Critical
- CODEBASE Spoofing Vulnerabilities: Important
- Domain Spoofing Vulnerability: Moderate
- JDBC API Vulnerability: Moderate
- Standard Security Manager Access Vulnerability: Low
- User.dir Exposure Vulnerability: Low
- Incomplete Java object Instantiation Vulnerability: Low

Patch Availability:
===================
- A patch is available to fix this vulnerability. Please read the
  Security Bulletin at
  http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms02-069.asp
  for information on obtaining this patch.

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