Browser Exploitation

We know that it’s possible to exploit weaknesses (or vulnerabilities) that exist in anything, from a certain code to the entire application, let’s talk about Browser Exploitation or, Browser Exploit.

Browser Exploitation, or BeEF, is being used to describe the exploitation of weaknesses that an attacker will find and use in Browsers.

An Exploit is a Software or Collection of Operations that abuses a bug or weakness in a system, hardware or software, to produce an unexpected situation that shouldn’t happen. Most of the time, this situation will lead to gaining control over the system or shutting it down completely.

If you didn’t know it before, a browser is an application, a web application to be precise. Which means, the the exploits being found are based on the app you’re using. It also depends on the Operating System you’re using, since apps sometimes react and work differently in order to be compatible.

By breaching the browser’s security an attacker could temper with the user’s browser without their knowledge. Malicious code may exploit ActiveX, HTML, images, Java, JavaScript, and other web-based technologies, causing the browser to run arbitrary codes.

General types of Exploits in Browsers

  • “In-Browser” Code Execution Exploits – these types of exploits revolves around vulnerabilities that exists in the browser you’re using which allows other to execute codes. This might be due to the version, type or even the sites we use.
  • Plugins Code Execution Exploits – similar to the type indicated above. This time it’s caused due to the plugins you’re using. Can be a combination of your browser type, its version and the version of the plugin being used.
  • Man-in-the-Middle – any attacker who has access to any point in a connection between a user and these sensitive websites in the network. That allows attackers to view and interfere these communications. Websites that uses TLS (using HTTPS) can help preventing such cases.
  • SQL Injections – positioned 3rd in the OWASP top ten as of now. An SQL injection, could allow attackers to add SQL commands to websites whose database is managed using SQL. They do this in order to access and edit data located on the server. Attackers can use web forms, HTTP posts and requests and even cookies to inject their malicious codes into the browser.

Some examples of Browser Vulnerabilities

  • The mozilla_compareto module – also referred to as “Mozilla Suite/Firefox compareTo() Code Execution”. This module abuses a vulnerability which allows code executions in the Mozilla Suite, Mozilla Firefox, and Mozilla Thunderbird applications.
  • SQL injection used on the Login Page – in these cases, Performing a login into a web application without actually having the valid credentials. Example of an SQL query created and sent to the Interpreter :
    SELECT * FROM Users WHERE User_Name = userName AND Password = 1=1′ or password123;.
    Make sure to “White Listing” the input fields preventing the insertion of invalid values. Make sure to avoid displaying detailed error messages that are useful to an attacker (also known as Information Disclosure).

  • CVE-2022-2477 – a vulnerability that exists in Google Chrome browsers. That allowed an attacker who convinced users to install a malicious extensions to potentially exploit heap corruption via “Handcrafted” HTML pages.

Here’s an expanded list of Security vulnerabilities in Google Chrome, just in case.

How can we Protect ourselves and Prevent Browser Exploits?

  • Install a firewall software of use any other security software – for example, Web Vulnerability Scanners, such as Kayran. Doing so, will assist us in the “illustration” of attacks against our assets and finding vulnerabilities that might be exploited against them. That plays a major role in preventing Browser Exploitation nowadays.
  • Update Update Update – updating the softwares and tools we’re using not only improves their aesthetics and functionality, updating is also important for the prevention of “new” weaknesses that may be discovered at any moment and be exploited against us (Also called Zero-Day Vulnerabilities).
  • Careful Browsing – it’s important to know how to use your browser properly. Don’t surf or send important information on any un-trusted and unsecured sites. Also, don’t download files from these sorts of sites, this may lead to extremely disastrous results on your personal device.
  • Choice of Browser – remember, just because it’s fast won’t mean that it’s good. Using a browser that doesn’t get enough Support, Updates or any form of keeping us safe can lead to attacks based on its “irrelevance” and capability to withstand such attacks.

Remember, you better check yourself before you Browse yourself (thank God I have seniority in this company).

Stay safe, choose Kayran.

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