[funsec] Sony's Web-Based Uninstaller Opens a Big Security Hole;
Sony to Recall Discs
Richard M. Smith
rms at computerbytesman.com
Tue Nov 15 10:09:31 CST 2005
Over the weekend a Finish researcher named Muzzy noticed a potential
vulnerability in the web-based uninstaller that Sony offers to users who
want to remove the First4Internet XCP copy protection software. We took a
detailed look at the software and discovered that it is indeed possible for
an attacker to exploit this weakness. For affected users, this represents a
far greater security risk than even the original Sony rootkit.
The consequences of the flaw are severe. It allows any web page you visit to
download, install, and run any code it likes on your computer. Any web page
can seize control of your computer; then it can do anything it likes. That's
about as serious as a security flaw can get.
The root of the problem is a serious design flaw in Sony's web-based
uninstaller. When you first fill out Sony's form to request a copy of the
uninstaller, the request form downloads and installs a program - an ActiveX
control created by the DRM vendor, First4Internet - called CodeSupport.
CodeSupport remains on your system after you leave Sony's site, and it is
marked as safe for scripting, so any web page can ask CodeSupport to do
things. One thing CodeSupport can be told to do is download and install code
from an Internet site. Unfortunately, CodeSupport doesn't verify that the
downloaded code actually came from Sony or First4Internet. This means any
web page can make CodeSupport download and install code from any URL without
asking the user's permission.
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