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Spook.Js attack can bypass Google Chrome site isolation protection




Spook.js is a new side-channel attack on modern processors that can bypass the site isolation protection implemented in Google Chrome.

Boffins has devised a temporary side-channel attack on the latest processor, Spook.js. It can be exploited by threat actors to bypass the site isolation protection implemented in Google Chrome and Chromium browsers.

This technique can, in some cases, steal sensitive information through malicious JavaScript code.

The attack was discovered by researchers at the University of Michigan, Adelaide University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Tel Aviv University.

“Introducing Spook.js, a JavaScript-based Specter attack that can be read from the entire address space of the web page you’re attacking. Further investigating the implementation of strict site isolation in Chrome, Spook.js and others. Shows the restrictions that allow you to read sensitive information from our web pages. ”Read research papers published by experts.

“Attacker-controlled web pages recognize other pages on the same website that the user is currently browsing, retrieve sensitive information from these pages, and log in credentials (such as username and password) when auto-filled. ) Can also be recovered. An attacker can retrieve the data. If the user installs a malicious extension, from a Chrome extension (such as Credential Manager). “

In January 2018, a team of experts devised two attacks, Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754) and Specter (CVE-2017-5753 and CVE-2017-5715). These attacks can be performed to break the isolation between different applications and steal sensitive data processed. Depending on the CPU.

Both attacks utilize the speculative execution techniques used by modern CPUs to optimize performance.

Google has implemented site isolation to mitigate attacks like Specter, but anyway, this feature can only try to limit information breaches by separating the content of different websites into different processes. It’s important to understand what you can do.

This feature is enabled in Chrome 67 and above, allowing each website to be loaded in its own process.

Researchers have found several cases where site separation fails to separate two websites that open the door to Specter attacks.

The Spook.js attack uses a type of confusion attack that works against Chrome and Chromium-based browsers running on Intel, AMD, and Apple M1 processors, allowing you to target the entire address space. increase.

“For example, Chrome separates and because the top-level domains .net and .com are different. and are also the first subdomains (example). And attacker) are different, so they can be split into different processes. Finally, and share the same eTLD + 1,, so they can share the same process. The separation of origins. ”Experts continue. “Please note that Chrome may have been able to choose a tighter isolation using the entire website, although 13.4% of page loads change origin via document.domain. As a result, isolation of sources can corrupt a non-negligible amount of websites. “

Experts have deployed Spook.js on the Tumblr blog, targeting the password auto-filled on the Tumblr login page by Chrome’s built-in credential manager. They have released a video PoC of an attack showing that Spook.js can render a blog with the same Chrome process as the login page that allows password recovery.

In another attack scenario, researchers packaged Spook.js as a Chrome extension, demonstrating that under certain conditions, multiple extensions can be integrated and run from the same process. The attack proposed by the researchers was able to read the memory of the LastPass Credential Manager extension and recover the master password of the target vault.

Researchers shared the findings with Google, and in July 2021 applied some changes to site isolation to prevent extensions from sharing processes with each other, allowing users to go through a third-party provider. I also applied it to the site to log in. A new site isolation feature called Strict Extension Isolation has been enabled since Chrome version 92.

“The fundamental weakness that Spook.js exploits is the difference between strict site isolation and other security models across the web ecosystem. On the other hand, strict site isolation offers two from the same eTLD + 1. Resources are always considered to be in the same security domain, while the rest of the web has a finer-grained definition of the security domain, often referred to as the same origin policy. The original policy only considers two resources to be in the same security domain if the entire domain name is the same, “the researchers conclude.

Follow us on Twitter: @securityaffairs and Facebook

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs hack, Spook.Js)





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