XSS Vulnerabilities in Common Shockwave Flash Files

Type securityvulns
Reporter Securityvulns
Modified 2008-01-03T00:00:00



Recently, there has been news regarding Flash authoring tools and XSS, but the articles contained little technical information. So, I created a detailed report at:


An abbreviated version intended for full-disclosure, bugtraq, and websecurity lists is below.


Critical vulnerabilities exist in a large number of widely used web authoring tools that automatically generate Shockwave Flash (SWF) files, such as Adobe (r) Dreamweaver (r), Adobe Acrobat (r) Connect (tm) (formerly Macromedia Breeze), InfoSoft FusionCharts, and Techsmith Camtasia. The flaws render websites that host these generated SWF files vulnerable to Cross-Site Scripting (XSS).

This problem is not limited to authoring tools. Autodemo, a popular service provider, used a vulnerable controller SWF in many of their projects.

Simple Google hacking queries reveal that hundreds of thousands of SWFs are vulnerable on the Internet, and a considerable percentage of major Internet sites are affected. We are only reporting XSS vulnerabilities that have been fixed by the vendors.


Many web authoring tools that automatically generate SWFs insert identical and vulnerable ActionScript into all saved SWFs or necessary controller SWFs (think of tools that "save as SWF", "export to SWF", etc.). The vulnerable ActionScript can used by attackers to execute arbitrary JavaScript in the security domain of the website hosting the SWF.

We were unable to perform an exhaustive review of all authoring tools that generate SWFs. More XSS issues may exist in the products listed below and certainly exist in other applications that save to SWF.

We are only reporting XSS vulnerabilities that have been fixed by the vendors. There are more products vulnerable. We will publish more information when the vendor releases fixes.

Adobe Dreamweaver

The "skinName" parameter is accepted by all Flash files produced by the "Insert Flash Video" feature. "skinName" can be used to force victims to load of arbitrary URLs including the "asfunction" protocol handler:


Adobe was contacted on August 8, 2007. This issue was fixed in the December Flash player release.

Adobe Acrobat Connect/Macromedia Dreamweaver

"main.swf" is the controller file in all Connect/Breeze online presentations. This SWF does not properly validate the "baseurl" parameter; thus causing script injection:


Adobe was contacted on July 31, 2007. This issue was fixed in the December Flash player release.

InfoSoft FusionCharts

One of the issues found in FusionCharts was that the "dataURL" parameter allows insertion of arbitrary HTML into a "TextArea" instance. This allows attackers to load SWFs from other domains:


InfoSoft was contacted on September 2, 2007. Fixes for all issues we found were released in late September. Webmasters should consult InfoSoft to properly upgrade their SWFs. See "The Fix" for details.

Techsmith Camtasia

One of the issues found in Camtasia was that the "csPreloader" parameter loads an arbitrary flash file:


Techsmith was contacted on August 12, 2007. Fixes for all issues was released late September. Webmasters should contact Techsmith to properly upgrade their SWFs. See "The Fix" for details.


Autodemo is a service provider, not an authoring tool. However, like authoring tools they use a common control file in many demos. The "onend" parameter in "control.swf" loads arbitrary URLs including the JavaScript protocol handler:


Autodemo was contacted on August 17, 2007. Autodemo was extremely responsive to our report and quickly fixed the issue in early September. Webmasters must update to the latest "control.swf". See "The Fix" for details.

Autodemo is not the only service provider to have XSS in their products. They are just the only service provider we looked at. Readers should be concerned about other service providers who don't even know their SWFs are vulnerable.


See http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=ajfxntc4dmsq_14dt57ssdw.


First and foremost, we thank Stafano Di Paola of Minded Security and Obscure of EyeonSecurity who thoroughly researched and pioneered every attack we used.

Thanks to Autodemo, Infosoft, and Techsmith for quickly fixing this issue. We also thank the Computer Emergency Response Team for coordinating with the vendors to fix this issue, the Adobe Flash player development teams for including some fixes in the player (we hope to see more in the future), the Adobe Software Security Engineering Team, and the Google Security Team for giving me time to pursue this research and coauthor a book.


Given the ActionScript:

/ * Quiz app * * To compile: * mtasc -swf Quiz.swf -main -header 10:10:10 Quiz.as /

class Quiz { static function main(mc) { getURL("javascript:someFunction('" + escape(_root.userDefined) + "')"); } }


Create an URL for Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari that will execute JavaScript in the domain hosting Quiz.swf.

Answer (in base64)

aHR0cDovL2V4YW1wbGUuY29tL1F1aXouc3dmP3VzZXJEZWZpbmVkPS cpO2Z1bmN0aW9uJTIwc29tZUZ1bmN0aW9uKGEpe31hbGVydCgxKS8v