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Home » Hacking News » Windows Me help center code execution

Windows Me help center code execution

by Nikola Strahija on February 27th, 2003 Help and Support Center provides a centralized facility through which users can obtain assistance on a variety of topics. For instance, it provides product documentation, assistance in determining hardware compatibility, access to Windows Update, online help from Microsoft, and other assistance. Users and programs can execute URL links to Help and Support Center by using the "hcp://" prefix in a URL link instead of "http://".


A security vulnerability is present in the Windows Me version of Help and Support Center, and results because the URL Handler for the "hcp://" prefix contains an unchecked buffer.

An attacker could exploit the vulnerability by constructing a URL that, when clicked on by the user, would execute code of the attacker’s choice in the Local Computer security context. The URL could be hosted on a web page, or sent directly to the user in email. In the web based scenario, where a user then clicked on the URL hosted on a website, an attacker could have the ability to read or launch files already present on the local machine. In the case of an e-mail borne attack, if the user was using Outlook Express 6.0 or Outlook 2002 in their default configurations, or Outlook 98 or 2000 in conjunction with the Outlook Email Security Update, then an attack could not be automated and the user would still need to click on a URL sent in e-mail. However if the user was not using Outlook Express 6.0 or Outlook 2002 in their default configurations, or Outlook 98 or 2000 in conjunction with the Outlook Email Security Update, the attacker could cause an attack to trigger automatically without the user having to click on a URL contained in an e-mail.

Vulnerable:
Only Windows ME.


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