IE exposing URLs to msn.com and alexa.com?
From: Stewart Smith (stewartsmith_at_mac.com)
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 10:52:34 +1000 To: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Has anyone been able to verify this?
Internet Explorer Exposes Sensitive Information
Exposure of sensitive information
Microsoft Internet Explorer 6
A vulnerability has been identified in Internet Explorer, which exposes
sensitive information to "msn.com" and "alexa.com".
While this is a known "feature" when the "Show Related Links" option
is activated in Internet Explorer, there is a bug, so that Internet
Explorer will keep transmitting the information to "msn.com" and
"alexa.com" after "Show Related Links" has been de-activated. This
occurs whenever "Ctrl+R" is used to reload a page.
To make matters worse, it has been confirmed that this behaviour also
affects SSL enabled pages. One thing is that Microsoft has chosen to
make a "feature", which reveals this information to "msn.com" and
"alexa.com", but the fact that information, which was supposed to be
protected by SSL and sent only to one site, is sent in plain text to a
third party ("msn.com" and "alexa.com") is of great concern.
The data transmitted to "msn.com" and "alexa.com" is the complete URL.
In some cases this could contain sensitive information such as
username, password, session id, search string, "secret paths", and more.
The vulnerability has been confirmed for Internet Explorer 6 on
Windows 2000 and Windows XP with all Service Packs and hotfixes.
It is Microsoft that controls who else than "msn.com" should receive
this information. Microsoft could at any time choose to send this
information to another party than "alexa.com".
We recommend that you filter traffic at your perimeter so that no data
may be sent to "msn.com" and "alexa.com".
Make sure that you don't use the "Show Related Links" feature or that
you close your browser after you have used it.
For other alternative solutions see "Other References".
Reported by / credits:
2003-06-09 Minor correction. Added link to alternative solutions.
Programmer / UNIX Sys Admin
Gamma Solutions Pty Ltd
Monash Corporate Centre,
Unit 11, 20 Duerdin Street,
Clayton, Victoria 3168
Phone: +61 3 9562 7755
Fax: +61 3 9562 7766
Mobile: +61 4 3884 4332
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