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From: William A. Rowe, Jr. (wrowerowe-clan.net)
Date: Wed May 14 2008 - 12:28:23 CDT
HTTP User and Desktop Security Communities;
With respect to http://www.securityfocus.com/bid/29112
3.7.1 Canonicalization and Text Defaults
The "charset" parameter is used with some media types to define the
character set (section 3.4) of the data. When no explicit charset
parameter is provided by the sender, media subtypes of the "text"
type are defined to have a default charset value of "ISO-8859-1" when
received via HTTP. Data in character sets other than "ISO-8859-1" or
its subsets MUST be labeled with an appropriate charset value. See
section 3.4.1 for compatibility problems.
Internet Explorer's autodetection of UTF-7 clearly violates this
specification, introducing the opportunity for myriad similar attacks.
These are literally everywhere on the web today, we can trust the kids
to continue to explore this vector until it is fixed by Microsoft.
There are several workarounds in Apache HTTP Server to dodge this particular
vulnerability on your own sites, including
and by enabling multilanguage error docs (each translation with an explicit
charset) by simply uncommenting this Include of the default httpd.conf file;
# Multi-language error messages
All releases after Jan 2 include fixes across the board to add an explicit
charset iso-8859-1 to the built in Apache HTTP modules to compensate for
Microsoft's vulnerability, including released versions 2.2.8, 2.0.63, and
1.3.41. This does not affect third party modules you may be loading,
applications hosted-on or proxied-through HTTP Server, etc.
However this vulnerability should clearly be labeled as a flaw in Internet
Explorer. If the browsers under your supervision continue to enable the
autodetection of UTF-7, your users remain at risk. As all ISO, UTF-8 and
related charsets were 7-bit clean, it's clear that Microsoft err'ed on
the side of accepting UTF-7 charset for automatic detection, contrary to
to the behavior dictated by RFC 2616.