Microsoft and Adobe frequently work together on security. At this year’s BlueHat, we will come together to share our security research in the area of Rich Internet Applications (RIAs). While we independently place considerable thought and effort into our respective security models, attackers often look for methods in which to combine technologies for an attack. In addition, developers might combine two technologies without knowing the risks associated with mixing content. By sharing research and consolidating information, we can ensure that developers have the essential knowledge necessary to provide a secure experience for end-users regardless of the technologies that are combined to create that experience.
A single Web page may be a composite of the efforts of many different development teams, each utilizing different technologies. If you are responsible for the overall security of a site, then you need to have a clear picture of how content will interact in order to understand the risks. Without a clear mapping of permissions granted to each piece of content, an attacker might be able to find subtle paths through your defenses.
Combining research makes it easier to communicate common risks with deploying RIA technologies. The attacks in the above examples could also occur if the content were based on Silverlight and granted the EnableHTMLAccess permission. As the webmaster responsible for the overall site, you may not be an expert on each RIA technology. However, if you understand the common risks shared across RIA technologies, then you will know to ask whether the SWF or Silverlight content has access to your HTML’s DOM during your security review. Understanding the common risks will allow you to draft security requirements that can be flexible enough to address different RIA technologies.
During the presentation we will be providing guidance on how to secure your site against these and other RIA attacks. It is our goal to communicate some of the important commonalities and differences between RIA platforms to enable developers to understand the breadth of RIA’s capabilities Architectures that mix content from diverse sources will need to build holistic views of their content. Data flow diagrams detailing where cross-domain communication occurs can help identify where unintended paths into sensitive areas may exist. By understanding the capabilities of RIA technologies and by tracking the flow of those permissions, developers will be able to accurately manage their risks and provide users with a rich Web experience.
Senior Security Researcher
Adobe Systems, Inc.
[Editor’s note: Check out Bryan Sullivan’s post on the SDL blog titled “Cross-Domain Security” discussing the existing SDL requirements around cross-domain access security and the implications of Peleus’ research on these requirements – coming soon.]