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Home » Hacking News » GreyMagic GM#001- local files vuln in Netscape 6 and Mozilla

GreyMagic GM#001- local files vuln in Netscape 6 and Mozilla

by Nikola Strahija on May 1st, 2002 Mozilla's version of XMLHTTP, the XMLHttpRequest object, is vulnerable to the exact same attack. By directing the "open" method to a web page that will redirect to a local/remote file it is possible to fool Mozilla into thinking it's still in the allowed zone, therefore allowing us to read it. It is then possible to inspect the content by using the responseText property.

Available in HTML format at

Topic: Reading local files in Netscape 6 and Mozilla.

Discovery date: 30 Mar 2002.

Affected applications:

* All tested versions of Mozilla (0.9.7+) on Windows, other
versions/platforms are believed to be vulnerable.

* All tested versions of Netscape (6.1+) on Windows, other
versions/platforms are believed to be vulnerable.

Important notes:

Netscape was contacted on 24 Apr 2002 through a form on their web site and
through email to [email protected] and [email protected]

They did not bother to respond AT ALL, and we think we know why.

A while ago Netscape started a "Bug Bounty" program, which entitles
researchers who find a bug that allows an attacker to run unsafe code or
access files to a $1000 reward.

By completely disregarding our post Netscape has earned themselves a $1000
and lost any credibility they might have had. The money is irrelevant, but
using such a con to attract researchers into disclosing bugs to Netscape is
extremely unprofessional.

Netscape's faulty conducts made us rethink our disclosure guidelines and we
came to the following decisions:

* Release all future Netscape advisories without notifying Netscape at all.

* Advise the security community to do the same. Netscape is deceiving
researchers and should not be rewarded.

* Advise customers to stop using Netscape Navigator through our security
advisories and business contacts.



XMLHTTP is a component that is primarily used for retrieving XML documents
from a web server.

On 15 Dec 2001 "Jelmer" published an advisory titled "MSIE6 can read local
files", which demonstrated how Microsoft's XMLHTTP component allows reading
of local files by blindly following server-side redirections (patched by



This example attempts to read "c:/test.txt", "getFile.asp" internally
redirects to "file://c:/test.txt":

var oXML=new XMLHttpRequest();"GET","getFile.asp",false);


Users of Netscape Navigator should move to a better performing, less buggy

Tested on:

Mozilla 0.9.7, NT4.
Mozilla 0.9.9, NT4.
Mozilla 0.9.9, Win2000.
Netscape 6.1, NT4.
Netscape 6.2.1, Win2000.
Netscape 6.2.2, NT4.
Netscape 6.2.2, Win2000.


A fully dynamic proof-of-concept demonstration of this issue is available at


Please mail any questions or comments to [email protected]

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