Permissive Cross-domain Policy with Untrusted Domains

The product uses a cross-domain policy file that includes domains that should not be trusted.


A cross-domain policy file ("crossdomain.xml" in Flash and "clientaccesspolicy.xml" in Silverlight) defines a list of domains from which a server is allowed to make cross-domain requests. When making a cross-domain request, the Flash or Silverlight client will first look for the policy file on the target server. If it is found, and the domain hosting the application is explicitly allowed to make requests, the request is made.

Therefore, if a cross-domain policy file includes domains that should not be trusted, such as when using wildcards, then the application could be attacked by these untrusted domains.

An overly permissive policy file allows many of the same attacks seen in Cross-Site Scripting (CWE-79). Once the user has executed a malicious Flash or Silverlight application, they are vulnerable to a variety of attacks. The attacker could transfer private information, such as cookies that may include session information, from the victim's machine to the attacker. The attacker could send malicious requests to a web site on behalf of the victim, which could be especially dangerous to the site if the victim has administrator privileges to manage that site.

In many cases, the attack can be launched without the victim even being aware of it.


The following examples help to illustrate the nature of this weakness and describe methods or techniques which can be used to mitigate the risk.

Note that the examples here are by no means exhaustive and any given weakness may have many subtle varieties, each of which may require different detection methods or runtime controls.

Example One

These cross-domain policy files mean to allow Flash and Silverlight applications hosted on other domains to access its data:

Flash crossdomain.xml :

<cross-domain-policy xmlns:xsi=""
<allow-access-from domain="*"/>
<allow-access-from domain="*"/>

Silverlight clientaccesspolicy.xml :

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<allow-from http-request-headers="SOAPAction">
<domain uri="*"/>
<resource path="/" include-subpaths="true"/>

These entries are far too permissive, allowing any Flash or Silverlight application to send requests. A malicious application hosted on any other web site will be able to send requests on behalf of any user tricked into executing it.

See Also

Comprehensive Categorization: Access Control

Weaknesses in this category are related to access control.

OWASP Top Ten 2021 Category A05:2021 - Security Misconfiguration

Weaknesses in this category are related to the A05 category "Security Misconfiguration" in the OWASP Top Ten 2021.

Authorize Actors

Weaknesses in this category are related to the design and architecture of a system's authorization components. Frequently these deal with enforcing that agents have th...

Comprehensive CWE Dictionary

This view (slice) covers all the elements in CWE.

Weaknesses Introduced During Implementation

This view (slice) lists weaknesses that can be introduced during implementation.

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