Tue Dec 4 17:17:05 2007

CNN hacks iPhone (unsuccessful) and Nokia (successful)

or why you don't need a fuzzer when you got web developers.

This is just one of these security related stories that are so funny, they must be shared. While working on site at a customer, the person maintaining the inline Snort IPS mentioned that he had to disable a rule due to complains from people. Apparently, the rule was preventing the CNN.com website to work correctly. For eye candy, here is the rule:

(msg:"WEB-CLIENT PCRE character class double free overflow attempt";
flow:to_client,established; content:"RegExp"; nocase; content:"[[";
content:"]"; distance:1;
reference:bugtraq,25002; reference:cve,2007-3944;
classtype:attempted-user; sid:12286; rev:1;)

Since time and resources are precious, the rule got disabled and everyone was happy. I have to admit that I didn't really think anything of it, except that the rule might be somehow too broadly matching and therefore would eat legitimate JavaScript code. That is, until I surfed Fefe's blog a few days ago using my Nokia E70 phone and clicked on a link to CNN.com. After my phone tried to load the page for a while, the browser crashed. I remembered the episode with the Snort rule and also suddenly realized that my phone's browser is actually using the Apple WebKit, as does Safari.

I read up on the specific vulnerability ( http://www.securityevaluators.com/iphone/bh07.pdf) and went back to the CNN.com website, only to find that the included file main.js contains:

var htmlRegEx = new RegExp('[\w*|\W*]*<[[\w*|\W*]*|/[\w*|\W*]]>[ \w*|\W*]*');

This looks suspiciously like what is described on Charles Miller's slides mentioned above, namely: "A valid (though odd) pattern that looked like a POSIX character class but used an invalid character after [ (for example [[,abc,]]) caused pcre_compile() to give the error "Failed: internal error: code overflow" or in some cases to crash with a glibc free() error."

Although I didn't verify to all ends that this is what is crashing by phone's browser, I assume it is.

Dear Nokia, if I had wanted a vulnerable, DRM infested future malware platform in my pocket, I had bought an f***ing iPhone in the first place!

Thanks to K.S. for pointing out the Snort rule issue to me!

Update: People report that the iPhone works fine (now?) with CNN.com and I tested the iPod Touch myself (thanks iUte). So where is the Nokia update and security advisory?

Posted by FX | Permanent link | File under: humor