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From: Microsoft Product Security (secnotifMICROSOFT.COM)
Date: Wed May 16 2001 - 19:33:20 CDT
The following is a Security Bulletin from the Microsoft Product Security
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Title: Flaws in Web Server Certificate Validation Could
Date: 16 May 2001
Software: Internet Explorer
Impact: Spoofing of trusted web site
Microsoft encourages customers to review the Security Bulletin at:
A patch is available to eliminate two newly discovered
affecting Internet Explorer, both of which could enable an attacker
spoof trusted web sites. The first vulnerability involves how digital
certificates from web servers are validated. When CRL checking for
certificates is enabled, it could be possible for any or all of the
following checks to no longer be performed:
- Verification that the certificate has not expired
- Verification that the server name matches the name on the
- Verification that the issuer of the certificate is trusted
The second vulnerability could enable a web page to display the URL
from a different web site in the IE address bar. This spoofing could
occur within a valid SSL session with the impersonated site. Both
vulnerabilities could be used to convince a user that the attacker's
web site was actually a different one - one that the user presumably
trusts and would provide sensitive information to. However, as
discussed in the Mitigating Factors section below, there would be
significant hurdles to exploiting either vulnerability.
In addition to eliminating the two new vulnerabilities, the patch
eliminates two new variants of a previously discussed vulnerability,
the "Frame Domain Verification" vulnerability, which originally was
discussed in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS00-033. Like the original
version, these new variants vulnerability could enable a malicious
site operator to open two browser windows, one in the web site's
and the other on the user's local file system, and to pass
from the latter to the former. This could enable the web site
to read any file on the user's local computer that could be opened in
The patch also incorporates the functionality of the patch provided
Microsoft Security Bulletin MS01-020
Server certificate validation vulnerability:
- The vulnerability only affects how certificates from web
servers are validated. It does not affect how code-signing
certificates or any other type of certificate are validated.
- The specific checks that might be bypassed vary with both
the user and the actions she may have taken during the
current browsing session. An attacker could not predict with
any degree of certainty which checks might be bypassed in a
- The vulnerability does not provide any way to force users
to the attacker's web site. It is likely that this
vulnerability could only be exploited in conjunction with a
successful DNS poisoning or similar attack.
Web page spoofing vulnerability:
- Like the vulnerability above, this vulnerability would not
provide any way to force users to the attacker's web site,
and DNS poisoning or other measures would likely be required
to exploit it.
- Any hyperlinks within the page would correctly show the target.
As a result, the attacker would need to point these to bona
fide locations on the spoofed web site, with the result that
the attacker would likely only be able to spoof a single web
page, rather than an entire site.
New variants of "Frame Domain Verification" vulnerability:
- The vulnerability could only be used to read - not add, delete
or change - files.
- The attacker would need to know the exact name and location of
every file he wished to read.
- The vulnerability could only be used to read file types that
can be opened within a browser window - for example, .htm,
.txt or .doc files, but not .exe or .xls files.
- A patch is available to fix this vulnerability. Please read the
for information on obtaining this patch.
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WARRANTIES, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING THE WARRANTIES OF
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MICROSOFT CORPORATION OR ITS SUPPLIERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES
WHATSOEVER INCLUDING DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL,
OF BUSINESS PROFITS OR SPECIAL DAMAGES, EVEN IF MICROSOFT CORPORATION
OR ITS SUPPLIERS HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH
SOME STATES DO NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OR LIMITATION OF LIABILITY FOR
CONSEQUENTIAL OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES SO THE FOREGOING LIMITATION MAY
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