mailing list archives
RE: Registry Fix For Variant of Scob
From: "Thor Larholm" <thor () pivx com>
Date: Sat, 3 Jul 2004 15:47:30 -0700
Setting the kill bit on the "Shell.Application" ActiveX object, or any
other ActiveX, is a system wide configuration change. This is also the
reason for the incompatibility issues you are mentioning, but there is
no reason to kill the bird to secure the nest.
The problem here is not the ADODB.Stream or Shell.Application objects,
the problem is the insecure My Computer zone in Internet Explorer. Your
registry fix will have adverse functionality regressions on any Windows
administrator that use WSH when there is no reason for this. ActiveX
objects are used in many hosts of which IE is just one, others include
Jscript, VBScript, HTML Applications and WSH, all of which run outside
of the browser and require executional privileges to launch in the first
The prerequisite for even having privileges enough to launch the
Shell.Application ActiveX object inside IE is to have script running in
the My Computer zone. Locking down this zone will completely prevent
this exploit, without introduing functionality regressions in other
parts of Windows. In fact, if you had implemented the registry changes I
described back in early September 2003 you would have been safe against
all the command execution vulnerabilities that have subsequently been
discovered - including ADODB.Stream and Shell.Application who are
themselves just minor components of a larger exploit prerequisite.
I am sure that tomorrow, next week and next month we will find even more
ways to exploit insecure zone privileges in IE. You can either try to
fix the root cause once or you can try to treat each new symptom as it
There is no need to hurridly introduce last-minute system wide
functionality regressions such as killbitting Shell.Application, all you
need to do is lock down the My Computer zone in IE properly. We
implemented this in Qwik-Fix last September and have since then not had
to worry about exploits that target these design principles in IE.
Instead, we have been able to focus our efforts on securing other parts
of Windows as opposed to scramble to cope up with each new exploit from
jelmer or http-equiv. You can get a free copy of Qwik-Fix Pro at
All software is inherently insecure, the difference is in how you treat
Senior Security Researcher
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thor () pivx com
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PivX defines a new genre in Desktop Security: Proactive Threat
From: Drew Copley [mailto:dcopley () eEye com]
Sent: Friday, July 02, 2004 2:33 PM
To: Windows NTBugtraq Mailing List; bugtraq () securityfocus com
Subject: Registry Fix For Variant of Scob
About the same time Jelmer found the adodb bug, http-equiv found a
similiar issue with the object "Shell.Application".
This issue has also been unfixed for the past ten months.
Unfortunately, Microsoft has not taken the "hint" and not
fixed this issue either.
Jelmer has noted this and made a proof of concept exploit
page here: http://188.8.131.52/security/idiots/malware2k/installer.htm
The below registry file will protect you from this exploit
by kill biting "Shell.Application" variant.
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
I will be updating our free fix download here:
This will break some hta scripts that might be used
for management. It may cause some incompatibility issues
with some programs.
Shell.Application is commonly used by administrators
for administration of systems via Visual basic script
or WSH. It may have other uses. It is kind of Microsoft's answer to
shell script -- though not as happy as batch.
Full-Disclosure - We believe in it.
- RE: Registry Fix For Variant of Scob Thor Larholm (Jul 04)