If at first you don't succeed; call it version 1.0
Thursday, 31 January 2008

A patch for the cross-zone scripting vulnerability in Skype is still not available. As I mentioned in my first advisory, Skype renders HTML pages in several dialogs.

One of these dialogs is used by a feature called "SkypeFind". This feature, available from version 3.1, allows Skype users promote and review businesses around the world. Sadly, it could also be used by attackers to own Skype users' machines.

Within this feature any Skype user can add a new business and review an existing business. Skype does a great job sanitizing the data provided in the business item entry, and also the text provided in the user's reviews.

Unfortunately, they forgot to sanitize the full name of the reviewers. So, an attacker can inject a malicious script in his Skype's Full Name, and whenever a victim will view a business which was reviewed by the attacker, in the SkypeFind dialog, the malicious script will be executed in an unlocked Local Zone!

Fortunately for the attacker, it is also possible to open the dialog in a specific business details page from the browser, using the skype: URI handler (e.g. skype:?skypefind ). This means that it is possible for the attacker to create a worm!

The attacker however, must authorize the victim to view the attacker's full name, but this can be easily achieved in the following two ways (thanks pdp for the second suggestion!) :

  1. Interactive bot:
    • The victim enters a malicious website which automatically calls the attacker via Skype. This can be done by using the skype: URI handler (e.g. skype:attacker?call)
    • The attacker's bot intercept the call, and cancels it. Now that the bot has the victim's username, it uses the User.IsAuthorize API call to allow the victim to view the attacker's full name.
    • After a few seconds, the malicious website opens the malicious SkypeFind dialog, and the victim gets owned!
  2. Passive bot:
    • A passive bot is searching the Skype network for active users.
    • For each user the bot uses the User.IsAuthorize API call to allow the victim to view the attacker's full name.
    • When a victim who was authorized visits a malicious website, the malicious SkypeFind dialog will be opened, and the victim will be owned!

I've contacted Skype security team, and they have provided a quick fix for the full name issue.
Unfortunately, this is not enough! I'm worried that there are probably other ways to inject a script to this dialog.
I strongly advised Skype to disable this feature until they provide a patch for the cross-zone scripting vulnerability. For no good reason, they have decided to decline my advice.

Therefore, until a patch is available, my suggestions to Skype users are:

  • Disable the SkypeFind tab. Goto "View" -> "Tab and panels", and uncheck "SkypeFind Tab".
  • Disable the skype: URI handler. This can be done by a registry change, and I recommend it only for power users.
  • Other users who don't want to mess with the registry should uninstall Skype. Having Skype installed without using it will not solve the problem, as the skype: URI handler will automatically open Skype and login!

Zull (Guy Mizrahi) has created a great demonstration video. A better quality video is available here.


Thursday, 31 January 2008 12:35:41 UTC | Comments [1] | Security#
Sunday, 10 February 2008 07:58:41 UTC
how exactly to disable the registry keys for skypefind? can you please email me the detailed steps. thank you very much and more power!
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The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in anyway.