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Firm Says Steam URLs Exploitable

Startup vulnerability research and consultancy firm ReVuln says the way Steam handles steam:// protocol URLs leaves users open to having vulnerabilities in Steam and their game exploited, reports Computerworld, who say their request for comment on this was not immediately fulfilled by Valve (thanks Ant). A proof-of-concept trailer shows what they are talking about, and here's a bit:

According to tests performed by the ReVuln researchers, Internet Explorer 9, Google Chrome and Opera display warnings and the full or partial steam:// URLs before passing them to the Steam client for execution. Firefox also requests user confirmation, but doesn't display the URL and provides no warning, while Safari automatically executes steam:// URLs without user confirmation, the researchers said.

"All the browsers that execute external URL handlers directly without warnings and those based on the Mozilla engine (like Firefox and SeaMonkey) are a perfect vector to perform silent Steam Browser Protocol calls," the researchers said. "Additionally for browsers like Internet Explorer and Opera it's still possible to hide the dodgy part of the URL from being shown in the warning message by adding several spaces into the steam:// URL itself."

Aside from tricking users to manually click on rogue steam:// URLs, attackers can use JavaScript code loaded on malicious pages to redirect browsers to such URLs, Luigi Auriemma said Tuesday via email.

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19. This goes way beyond being a browser exploit. Oct 17, 2012, 17:07 hb3d
 
Mashiki Amiketo wrote on Oct 17, 2012, 13:24:
Looking at this a bit more, it appears that unless you've been able to compromise the machine before hand and lay a batch file(and know what games are installed). This is pretty much useless, so if someone has already compromised the machine that far. You've got other things to worry about than steam urls.

Though I might have missed something.
You missed a lot. Read the whole article (slowly for you) on Computerworld. This goes way beyond being a browser exploit. The browser is just used an attack vector into the Steam client itself and Source engine games. See "The researchers released a video in which they demonstrate how steam:// URLs can be used to remotely exploit some vulnerabilities they found in the Steam client and popular games." Valve's wonderful security triumphs again. I wonder if we will see Half-Life 3 source code soon.

In a different example, a steam:// URL can be used to execute legitimate commands found in Valve's Source game engine in order to write a .bat file with attacker-controlled content inside of Windows Startup folder. Files located in the Windows Startup directory are automatically executed when users log in.
That is really, really bad. As bad or worse than that Uplay exploit everyone bashed Ubisoft over (but not the researcher who found the exploit, hypocrites), but was fixed in a day or less. At least that exploit only affected users with the installed plug-in. This attack affects all browsers and Steam client users and since it can be scripted with Javascript, it is relatively easy to implement and get past the user especially on some browsers and settings.

This comment was edited on Oct 17, 2012, 18:08.
 
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