A security researcher has devised an attack that remotely steals digital credentials used to access user accounts on Facebook and other websites by exploiting a flaw in Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser.
Independent researcher Rosario Valotta demonstrated his “cookiejacking” proof of concept last week at the Hack in the Box security conference in Amsterdam. It exploits a flaw that's present in all current versions of IE to steal session cookies that Facebook and other websites issue once a user has entered a valid password and corresponding user name. The cookie acts as a digital credential that allows the user to access a specific account.
The proof of concept code specifically targets cookies issued by Facebook, Twitter and Google Mail, but Valotta said the technique can be used on virtually any website and affects all versions of Windows. “You can steal any cookie,” he told The Register. “There is a huge customer base affected (any IE, any Win version).”