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RE: MSIE Similar Method Name Redirection Cross Site/Zone Scripting Vulnerability
From: "Thor Larholm" <tlarholm () pivx com>
Date: Thu, 15 Jul 2004 10:50:07 -0700

Nice find :)

The problem does not rely on similarly named methods, rather it relies
on the trust access checks that IE performs on function calls in
disparate windows. 

When you try to alert each of the assign methods in your example their
core toString methods are called which return a static string, however
this is not used for comparison as each assign method still has their
own unique internal ID. Instead, IE tries to determine whether the
function call is safe based on the level of trust it has to the object
that the method resides on. Your approach enables a range of method
caching vulnerabilities by circumventing the object security check.

This can be demonstrated by creating a cached reference to the
location.assign method from the first window on the second windows
location object, not just on the location.assign method but also on the
location.replace method and the non-existant location.whatever property.
I have added such a demo at



Thor Larholm
Senior Security Researcher
PivX Solutions
23 Corporate Plaza #280
Newport Beach, CA 92660
thor () pivx com
Stock symbol: (PIVX.OB)
Phone: +1 (949) 231-8496
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PivX defines a new genre in Desktop Security: Proactive Threat


-----Original Message-----
From: Paul [mailto:paul () greyhats cjb net] 
Sent: Sunday, July 11, 2004 8:34 AM
To: bugtraq () securityfocus com
Subject: MSIE Similar Method Name Redirection Cross Site/Zone Scripting

Note: This vulnerability and many more can be found at


Automatic Remote Compromise


IEXPLORE.EXE file version 6.0.2800.1106

MSHTML.DLL file version 6.00.2800.1400

Microsoft Windows XP sp2 


At first I thought this vulnerability had something to do with method
caching. It doesn't. It has to do with the security check that internet
explorer has in place. Apparently, if a function is redirected to a
function with the same name, it can be called without security
restrictions. If you want to see what I mean, try this:


var var1=location.assign;

alert("Assign function of the current window:\n"+var1);

var w=window.open("about:blank","_blank");

var var2=w.location.assign;

var w=alert("Assign function of the new window:\n"+var2);



You should get two alerts describing the assign() function as being

function assign(){

[Native code]


Notice both functions appear to be the same. My guess is that Internet
Explorer checks the two function names and (maybe) the function code. If
it matches, Internet Explorer marks the function as safe. It doesn't,
however, take into account cross-window function calls. That's why
SimilarMethodNameRedir works. 

How bad is this problem? Critical. With minimal effort, a malicious
website owner could install viruses or spyware on the visitor's
computer. Because theoretically this should work with every function,
the only way that I can think of to fix the problem is to rewrite the
whole function security check that internet explorer has in place. The
best way to prevent this vulnerability is to either disable active
scripting or switch to a different browser ;). 

The example goes to google.com and executes javascript that displays a
messagebox with the location.href and the document.cookie attributes of
the window object. 



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  • RE: MSIE Similar Method Name Redirection Cross Site/Zone Scripting Vulnerability Thor Larholm (Jul 15)
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