Chrome Password Manager Cross Origin Weakness

                   Virtual Security Research, LLC.
                          Security Advisory


Advisory Name: Chrome Password Manager Cross Origin Weakness
 Release Date: 2010-02-15
  Application: Google Chrome Web Browser
     Versions:,, and likely earlier
     Severity: Medium/Low
       Author: Timothy D. Morgan <tmorgan (a) vsecurity . com>
Vendor Status: Update Released [2]
CVE Candidate: CVE-2010-0556


Product Description
"Google Chrome is a web browser that runs web pages and applications with
 lightning speed." [1]

Vulnerability Overview
In mid-January, VSR identified a vulnerability in Google Chrome which could be used in phishing attacks in specific types of web sites.  This issue may make it much easier to convince a victim to submit web application credentials to the attacker's site.

Vulnerability Details
As with many modern browsers, Google Chrome implements a password manager to help users keep track of credentials used on various web sites.  It may be used to store either HTTP authentication credentials or form-based credentials.

The vulnerability surfaces in a situation where a user visits a web page which includes an embedded object, such as an image, from a third-party site.  If an attacker had control of the third-party web server, he could request credentials from the user via HTTP authentication.  This style of attack has been documented in the past, and some of variations on this theme are explored in a recent paper by VSR [5].

However, in the case of vulnerable versions of Google Chrome, the password
manager may pre-fill the authentication dialog box with credentials intended for parent page's domain, leaving users one click away from account compromise. This issue would affect Chrome users which use applications that allow users to embed objects from third parties.  Examples of such applications may include message boards, blogs, or social networking sites.

The following steps may be used to reproduce the issue:

1. Set up an HTML page with the following contents:
     <img src="" />

   This page should not be protected by any authentication and should be hosted at:

2. Set up an HTTP digest protected area under the following URL:

3. Set up the attacker's server to be protected by HTTP authentication such that the following URL is protected:

4. Use Google Chrome to log in to an area protected with HTTP authentication, such as:

   Save the password in the password manager.

5. Finally, access the unauthenticated HTML page on the victim's server:
   Since the embedded image requires authentication, a password prompt should appear. In vulnerable versions of Google Chrome, this form will be pre-filled with the stored credentials from the domain, even though the password prompt is generated by

Versions Affected
The issue was originally discovered in version and was also verified to exist in version  Testing was conducted on the Windows platform.

Vendor Response
The following timeline details Google's response to the reported issue:

2010-01-20    VSR submitted a security bug report [3].  Chromium development team began researching the issue.

2010-01-21    VSR provided additional details on the test scenario.  Chromium developers successfully reproduced the issue and committed a fix to the source repository [4].

2010-02-10    Chrome stable version released which includes the fix.

2010-02-15    VSR advisory released.

Upgrade to the latest version of Google Chrome as soon as possible.

Users are advised to be wary of HTTP authentication prompts and to carefully inspect the domains presented in these messages to see if they match the domain of the expected site.

Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) Information
The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned
the number CVE-2010-0556 to this issue.  This is a candidates for
inclusion in the CVE list (, which standardizes
names for security problems.

Thanks to the Chromium development team for the prompt response.








     Copyright 2010 Virtual Security Research, LLC.  All rights reserved.

To view the advisory as a txt. click here.

Editor’s note: This work was originally published by VSR on their website at is now a part of NCC Group, so we have migrated this content to The advisory text as above has been copy-pasted to this blog for historical reference.

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