Tried, Tested and Proven

Security Advisory 09-002 – Ark Default View Allows JavaScript Injection

Vulnerability Title:

Ark Default View Allows JavaScript Injection.

Vulnerable System:


Vulnerability discovery and development:

Portcullis Security Testing Services

Credit for Discovery:

Tim Brown – Portcullis Computer Security Ltd.

Affected Systems:

All known versions of KDE; the vulnerability discovered was for version 3.5.7


It is possible for an attacker to create an archive containing files of an unknown MIME type such that whilst the files may have a harmless looking extension, attempting to open them will lead to them being rendered using an embedded KHTML instance. When the user tries to open the attachment it will be opened and any included JavaScript will be executed.


In the worst case, an attacker may be able to use this to execute malicious code on a visitors computers. Portcullis agree with KDE’s assessment that exploitation of these vulnerabilities is unlikely, however we are concerned about the fact that active content may be executed in cases where the user does not expect it.


The proof of concept exploit code is available

Vendor Status:

10/07/2007 – Vendors sent copy of an initial paper “Kreating HavoK”

12/07/2007 – Trolltech & KDE respond

16/07/2007 – Trolltech issue patch for format string vulnerability (CVE-2007-3388) identified in paper

19/07/2007 – Trolltech provide update on their response

27/07/2007 – Trolltech publish their advisory

Throughout 2007, further discussions are held between Portullis and KDE via IRC but due to work on KDE 4.x no resolutions are forthcoming. Portcullis agree to hold back until such time as KDE can reasonably respond.

20/12/2008 – Due to the extended period of non-disclosure, in late 2008 Portcullis decide to resubmit the problems as a series of advisories

18/02/2009 – Portcullis contact oCERT and KDE asking for help from oCERT to coordinate disclosure

05/03/2009 – oCERT & KDE respond asking for proof of concepts

Portcullis provide proof of concept exploits and discuss the issue in depth with representatives of KDE and oCERT via IRC and email. KDE confirm that they have fixed the input sanitisation problems and have improved the sandbox that is applied to JavaScript to prevent the XMLHttpRequest object being called by resources not exposed over HTTP or WebDAV to prevent the same origin policy violation.

04/11/2009 – Advisory published. Portcullis would like to thank Richard Moore and David Faure from KDE and Andrea Barisani from oCERT


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