malicious

Report
Hulk: Eliciting Malicious Behavior in
Browser Extensions
Alexandros Kapravelos◊, Chris Grier†*, Neha Chachra‡,
Christopher Kruegel◊, Giovanni Vigna◊, Vern Paxson†*
◊UC Santa
Barbara, †UC Berkeley, ‡UC San Diego
*International Computer Science Institute
23rd USENIX Security Symposium (Aug., 2014)
2014/5/19
Outline
• Introduction
• Background
• Architecture
• Results
• Profiting from maliciousness
• Recommendations
• Related work
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Introduction
• All major web browsers today support broad extension
ecosystems that allow third parties to install a wide range of
modified behavior or additional functionality.
• Some browsers have online web stores to distribute
extensions to users.
• In this paper, we examine extensions for Google Chrome that
are designed with malicious intent.
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Background
• Google Chrome supports extensions written in JavaScript and
HTML (distributed as a single *.crx zip file).
• Each extension contains a (mandatory) manifest that
describes the permissions the extension uses and the list of
resources that the browser should load.
• The permission system determines which sites an extension
can access, the allowed API calls, and the use of binary plugins.
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Installing extensions
• Extensions can be installed via the official Chrome web store,
by user manually, or sideloaded by third-party programs.
• Chrome version 25 (Feb.,2013) included changes to prevent
silent installation of Chrome extensions, requiring user
confirmation.
• Chrome version 35 (May, 2014) took further steps to prevent
sideloading by requiring all installed extensions to be hosted in
the Chrome Web Store.
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Extension permissions
• Chrome requires
extensions to list the
permissions needed to
access the different parts
of the extension API.
• webRequest:
Allows the extension to
"observe and analyze traffic
and to intercept, block, or
modify requests in- flight"
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Extension permissions (cont.)
• content_scripts:
Indicates JavaScript files that will run inside of the web page.
• background:
Allows extensions to run scripts in a background page.
• content_security_policy:
Extensions can use the same syntax to express their CSP in the manifest
file.
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Architecture
• Hulk dynamically loads extensions in a monitored
environment and observes the interaction of extensions with
the loaded web pages.
• Using a set of heuristics to identify potentially dangerous
behavior, it labels extensions as malicious, suspicious, or benign.
• Automatically install extensions and instrument activity during
web browsing using an instrumented browser.
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URL extraction
• Look for URLs in the manifest, and search for URLs in the
source code as well.
• Also, visit a set of popular websites which may targeted by the
malicious plugin.
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HoneyPages
• Some extensions activate based on the content of a web page
instead of the URL.
• HoneyPages contain JavaScript functions that overload built-in
functions that query the DOM tree of the web page.
• If the extension queries an iframe DOM element with the intention to
alter it, then the HoneyPage will create an iframe element, inject it in the
DOM tree, and return it to the extension.
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Event-based execution
• HoneyPages will not trigger callbacks for network events that
require special properties, such as a specific URL or HTTP
header.
• By invoking all event callbacks that an extension registers in
the chrome.webRequest API with mock event objects and
pointing to a background HoneyPage, we can monitor
changes extensions attempts to make.
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Monitoring hooks
• An extension can use the Chrome extension API to perform
actions not available to JavaScript running in a web page.
• We leverage the current logging infrastructure offered by
Chrome for monitoring the activity of extensions.
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Content scripts
• By intercepting all additional code introduced by the extension
in the context of the visited page, we can monitor if the
extension fetch remote scripts.
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Network logging
• Request URLs may be computed in at runtime.
• We use a transparent proxy that intercepts all browser HTTP
and DNS traffic to log the requests made during extension
execution.
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Detecting malicious behavior
• Extension API:
• Uninstalling other extensions
• Preventing uninstallation of the current extension
(blocking chrome://extensions)
• Manipulating HTTP headers by eemoving security-related HTTP header,
such as Content-Security-Policy or X-Frame-Options is
classified as malicious.
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Detecting malicious behavior
• Interaction with visited pages:
• Malicious extensions may perform sensitive information theft using
JavaScript. (Example: JavaScript keylogger)
• Injection of remote JavaScript content is classified as suspicious.
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Network level
• Request errors (suspicious).
• May be used for drive-by downloads.
• Modification of HTTP requests (malicious).
• Common seen on shopping-related extensions.
• Detect header modification by comparing packets received by the OS
and by the browser.
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Injected Content Analysis
• The injected script runs in the context of the visited page and
thus has full access to its DOM tree.
• By using HoneyPages, we can understand the injected scripts’
intentions.
• For example, if the injected code looks for a form field with the
name “password,” it is classified as malicious.
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Results
• Two sources of extensions:
• The official Chrome Web Store (totaling 47,940 extensions)
• Extensions sideloaded by binaries. (392 unique extensions)(Anubis)
• Hulk labeled 130 as malicious and 4,712 as suspicious.
• Benign extensions do not differ significantly from permissions
requested by malicious/suspicious ones.
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Results
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Permissions used
• Most commonly used permissions:
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Permissions used
• 18,313 extensions that use host permissions to restrict on
which pages the extension can use the privileged chrome.*
API.
• Extensions typically request broad permissions using wildcards
in URL patterns.
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API calls
• Top 15 Chrome
Extension API calls
made during by
extensions during
the experiments.
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Network level
• Using network activity alone we identified 24 malicious
extensions.
• By removing HTTP response headers like Content-
Security-Policy, the malicious extensions can inject
JavaScript into pages
• For example, there are multiple variants of an active extension on the
Chrome Web Store called “Cheat in your favorite games” (20k users).
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Extension management
• Several extensions on the Chrome Web Store prevent
uninstallation.
• “HD Video Player” (7,173 users).
• “SmartScreen Video Plugin” (11,012 users).
• “No Tab Left Behind” (only 8 users)(false positive).
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Code injection
• More than 3,000 extensions that dynamically introduced
remotely-retrieved code either through script injections or by
evoking eval.
• An extension named “Bang5TaoShopping assistant” (5.6M users) injects
code into every visited page.
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Profiting from maliciousness
• Ad Manipulation:
• The addition of new ads as well as the replacement of existing ads or
identifiers with the same size images.
• “SimilarSites Pro” (1.8M users), used obfuscated scripts to replace ads
(728x90) in popular websites.
• Other similar scripts, all under a company called “SimilarGroup.”
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Profiting from maliciousness
• Affiliate Fraud:
• Many major merchant web sites such as amazon.com, godaddy.com,
and ebay.com run affiliate programs.
• Affiliate programs usually associate a cookie with the user’s browser.
• Malicious extensions do “cookie stuffing” — a technique that causes the
user’s browser to visit the merchant URLs without the user clicking on
affiliate URLs.
• “*Split Screen*” (52K users), sets the referrer header for requests.
• “Give as you Live” (11K users), however, is a charity campaign.
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Profiting from maliciousness
• Information theft
• Online social network abuse:
• Extensions use existing authentication data to interact with online social
networks.
• “WhasApp”, an extension spams Facebook and Tumblr, sideloaded by
malware.
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Recommendations
• Extensions should not have the ability to manipulate browser
configuration pages, such as chrome://extensions.
• Extensions should also not be allowed to uninstall other
extensions.
• Extensions should not be allowed to remove HTTP security-
related headers.
• Extensions should not have the ability to hook all keyboard
events on a given site.
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Limitations
• Hulk uses dynamic analysis for analyzing extensions.
• Can not address cloaking that loads different code based on the client’s
location or time.
• Can not observe behavior that depends on specific targets.
• Hulk’s HoneyPages do not currently support multistep
querying of DOM elements.
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Related work
• Anubis, malware analysis for unknown binaries.
• Further work has examined the success of the Chrome
extension architecture at preventing damage and the ability of
developers to correctly request privileges for their extensions.
• Current permission system does not prevent an overtly
privileged malicious extension from executing malicious code.
• Adware vendor may purchase an extension, update it with
malicious one.

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