HP Security Products Blog
From applications to infrastructure, enterprises and governments alike face a constant barrage of digital attacks designed to steal data, cripple networks, damage brands, and perform a host of other malicious intents. HP Enterprise Security Products offers products and services that help organizations meet the security demands of a rapidly changing and more dangerous world. HP ESP enables businesses and institutions to take a proactive approach to security that integrates information correlation, deep application analysis and network-level defense mechanisms—unifying the components of a complete security program and reducing risk across your enterprise. In this blog, we will announce the latest offerings from HP ESP, discuss current trends in vulnerability research and technology, reveal new HP ESP security initiatives and promote our upcoming appearances and speaking engagements.

URL Authentication - IE Silliness

IE dropped support for URL authentication (e.g., http://user:smileytongue:ass@example.com/) around 2004. There are plenty of discussions out there about the merits and problems with URL authentication, so I won't comment on it yet again. However, it is still in the RFC.


If you try to load a URL with authentication in IE 6, you see the message "Invalid Syntax Error: Page Cannot Be Displayed" -- which at least points to the fact that there may be a problem with the link you followed. However, I happened to notice in IE 7 that they've dumbed it down a little further: "Windows cannot find 'http://user:smileytongue:ass@example.com/'. Check the spelling and try again"


If you don't put the "http://" in your browser (because for years browsers have been teaching people not to type the protocol), you get the completely different error "The webpage cannot be displayed."  


Way to go IE team! Rather than providing a better user experience, you hint that the site name is incorrect and leave it alone. Good job helping to educate your users.


Incidentally, Firefox, Safari and Opera will ignore invalid syntaxes like http://@example.com/ so you could create links that exclude IE users, should you be into that sort of thing for fun or profit.

SPI Labs advises avoiding iPhone feature

The Apple iPhone’s Safari web browser has a special feature that allows the user to dial any phone number displayed on a web page simply by tapping the number. SPI Labs has discovered that this feature can be exploited by attackers to perform various attacks, including: 

  • Redirecting phone calls placed by the user to different phone numbers of the attacker’s choosing
  • Tracking phone calls placed by the user
  • Manipulating the phone to place a call without the user accepting the confirmation dialog
  • Placing the phone into an infinite loop of attempting calls, through which the only escape is to turn off the phone
  • Preventing the phone from dialing 

These types of attacks can be launched from a malicious website, from a legitimate website that has Cross-Site Scripting vulnerabilities, or as part of a payload of a web application worm. 

For example, an attacker could determine that a specific website visitor “Bob” has called an embarrassing number such as an escort service. An attacker can also trick or force Bob into dialing any other telephone number without his consent such a 900-number owned by the attacker or an international number. Finally, an attacker can lock Bob’s phone forcing Bob to either make the call or hard-reset his phone resulting in possible data loss. 

SPI Labs researchers reported these issues to Apple on July 6 and are working with Apple to remediate the problems. However, SPI Labs recognizes the unique urgency of these issues and the large number of people that could be affected. As such, SPI Labs recommends that iPhone users do not use the built-in Safari browser to dial telephone numbers until Apple resolves these issues.

Labels: iPhone| Safari| XSS
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