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From: jkuperus at (Jelmer)
Subject: .hta virus analysys

There's nothing wrong with .hta files, but that it has an associated mime
type boggles the mind
It's been the source of many an issue in the past. Microsoft would be better
of disabling it entirely

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Gary Flynn" <>
Cc: "[Full Disclosure]" <>
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2003 9:50 PM
Subject: Re: [Full-Disclosure] .hta virus analysys

> Lets not all get in a tizzy about HTA. They're meant for platform
> application development, not web development. They're treated just
> like .exe files by IE (assuming a lack of defects - no snide
> remarks necessary).
> They would seem to make a nice rapid development environment for
> tools for end users because of their web interface and support for
> the full WSH/WMI scripting model. Kind of like TCL/tk in that respect.
> Yes, that makes it easier for bad people to do bad things...but so
> does the Internet, email, HTML, and perl.
> Just when windows starts shipping with half-way decent tools
> (WSH/WMI/HTA) like unix (sh/perl/tcl/tk) everyone runs amok about
> how insecure they are. Maybe that kind of power and programmability
> shouldn't be available on unmaintained, consumer computers but that
> argument could be extended to cover programmable computers in
> general in the same hands. People click .scr, .pif, .exe, and
> all manner of other attachments every day.
> The same power can be used for good too. Several organizations
> wrote quick scripts to clean Blaster infections. Wrapping a browser
> interface around them can make them easier for end users to use.
> Whether the file in question is an HTA, exe, sh, or an unknown
> type until the OS translates the MAGIC number, operators have to
> learn not to click them from untrusted sources.
> One wonders if everyone would yell about perl's ability to
> exec system commands if we had a population of a couple hundred
> million consumers running unix as root instead of windows
> as administrator.
> If there is an argument against HTAs other than that they create
> one more less complex way to create powerful executables (for good
> or bad), I'll readily admit my error. (No fair bringing up
> IE defects that allow them to run in error. I believe similar
> defects have allowed .exe to run too. The source of the problem
> in those cases is obvious and its not in the language/script
> engine.)
> My politically incorrect $0.02 worth.
> -- 
> Gary Flynn
> Security Engineer - Technical Services
> James Madison University
> _______________________________________________
> Full-Disclosure - We believe in it.
> Charter:

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