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From: "Richard M. Smith" <rms () computerbytesman com>
Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002 14:47:56 -0500
Windows Media Player (WMP) reintroduces the ability to automatically
facilitate the creation of worms and other malicious code which is
carried by HTML email messages. Using a number of simple tricks, WMP
can be used to bypass the Outlook security settings and still
Here is an outline of the steps needed to exploit this problem:
1. An IFRAME tag is inserted into an HTML email message that
references a Windows Media Skin (.WMS) file. The .WMS
can be loaded either from a Web site or from an attached
file to the email message using the CID: protocol. (Note:
I have only tested downloading a .WMS file from a Web site.)
2. Because .WMS files are considered safe by Windows, WMP will
automatically be started by Outlook and it will be passed
the .WMS file.
in an onload handler which runs a Web page using the
player.LauchURL() method. This onload handler is
automatically executed when WMP opens the .WMS file.
4. The Web page from step 3 can be loaded from a Web site, or
the source code of the Web page can be embedded in the .WMS file
1. Other WMP file types besides a Windows Media skin file
can be used in step 1. These file types include .WMZ,
.WMD, and .WMA files.
2. This problem is more of an example of poor security policies
in Outlook and WMP and is not really a security hole
in the classic sense.
3. Outlook Express and earlier versions of Outlook likely
have the same security problem even with all security
protections set to the maximum.
4. Hotmail however does not seem to have this security
problem because it discards IFRAME tags. Other Web-based
email systems however would have the same security problem
as Outlook if they do not do filtering of IFRAMEs.
1. Outlook 2002 should not execute files downloaded by
an HTML IFRAME tag. All file types except for HTML, text,
and image files should be discarded by Outlook 2002
if used in an IFRAME.
2. All WMP file types (.ASX, .WMS, .WMZ, .WMD, .WMA, etc.)
should not be marked safe for opening since many of them
can contain script code.
in the player.LauchURL() method.
The only work-around that I am aware of is to manually mark each Windows
Media file type as not safe-for-opening. This process is going to be
prone to errors since there are about 10 file types that need to fixed.
Richard M. Smith