Reporter Adi Cohen
`toStaticHTML: The Second Encounter (CVE-2012-1858)
*HTML Sanitizing Bypass -
Original advisory -
The *toStaticHTML* component, which is found in Internet Explorer > 8,
SharePoint and Lync is used to sanitize HTML fragments from dynamic and
potentially malicious content.
If an attacker is able to break the filtering mechanism and pass malicious
code through this function, he/she may be able to perform HTML injection
based attacks (i.e. XSS).
It has been a year since the first
published, we've now returned with a new bypass method.
An attacker is able to create a specially formed CSS that will overcome *
toStaticHTML*'s security logic; therefore, after passing the specially
crafted CSS string through the *toStaticHTML* function, it will contain an
The reason this code bypasses the filter engine is due to two reasons:
1. The filtering engine allows the string "expression(" to exists in
"non-dangerous" locations within the CSS.
2. A bug in Internet Explorer's CSS parsing engine doesn't properly
terminate strings that are opened inside brackets and closed outside of
When combining these two factors the attacker is able to "confuse" the
filtering mechanism into "thinking" that a string is open when in fact it
is terminated and vice versa. With this ability the attacker can trick the
filtering mechanism into entering a state of the selector context which is
considered safer where in fact the code is just a new declaration of the
same selector, thus breaking the state machine and bypassing the filter.
Every application that relies on the *toStaticHTML* component to sanitize
user supplied data had probably been vulnerable to XSS.
Microsoft has issued several updates to address this vulnerability.
MS12-037 - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/bulletin/ms12-037
MS12-039 - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/bulletin/ms12-039
MS12-050 - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/bulletin/MS12-050