Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Google Chrome sandbox exploit


French security research group, VUPEN, announced earlier today that they have managed to subvert Google Chrome's sandbox to permit execution of code.
The announcement, which is light on details, and a demo are available on VUPEN's website. The most interesting aspect of the announcement was the declaration "This code and the technical details of the underlying vulnerabilities will not be publicly disclosed. They are shared exclusively with our Government customers as part of our vulnerability research services." Apparently this list does not include Google. Definitely an interesting twist on responsible disclosure.
“While Chrome has one of the most secure sandboxes and has always survived the Pwn2Own contest during the last three years, we have now uncovered a reliable way to execute arbitrary code on any installation of Chrome despite its sandbox, ASLR and DEP,” the advisory notes. ASLR and DEP are two of the key security defenses built into Windows Vista and Windows 7
Google spokesman Jay Nancarrow said the company was unable to verify VUPEN’s claims, because VUPEN hadn’t shared any information about their findings. “Should any modifications become necessary, users will be automatically updated to the latest version of Chrome,” Nancarrow wrote in an email to KrebsOnSecurity.
Chaouki Bekar, VUPEN’s CEO and head of research, confirmed that the company had no plans to share any details about their findings with Google, nor was it aware of any steps users could take to mitigate the threat from this attack.
“No, we did not alert Google as we only share our vulnerability research with our Government customers for defensive and offensive security,” Bekar wrote in response to an emailed request for comment. “Unfortunately, we are not aware of any mitigation to protect against these vulnerabilities.”
Jeremiah Grossman, a Web application security expert and chief technology officer for the security consultancy WhiteHat Security, called the news “quite serious.”