Multiple Browsers - Denial of Service








                     One bug to rule them all
       Seamonkey,Wii,PS3,iPhone,iPod,Nokia,Siemens.... and more.
               Don't wet your pants - it's DoS only

Release mode: Tried hard to coordinate - gave up
Reference   : [GSEC-TZO-26-2009] - One bug to rule them all
WWW         :
Vendors         :
Status      : Varies
CVE         : CVE-2009-1692 (created by apple same root cause)
Credit      : Except Apple - nobody

Affected products : 
- Internet Explorer 5, 6, 7, 8 (all versions)
- Chrome (limited)
- Opera 
- Seamonkey
- Midbrowser
- Netscape 6 & 8 (9 years ago)
- Konqueror (all versions)
- Apple iPhone + iPod 
- Apple Safari
- Thunderbird
- Nokia Phones : Nokia N95 (Symbian OS v.9.2),Nokia N82, Nokia N810 Internet Tablet
- Aigo P8860 (Browser hangs and cannot be restarted)  
- Siemens phones
- Google T-Mobile G1 TC4-RC30
- Ubuntu (Operating system sometimes reboots, memory management failure)
- possibly more devices and products that support Javascript,
try it yourselves. POC here :

Patch availability :
- Mozilla : Fixed in Firefox 3.0.5 and
- Apple iPhone&iPod : patched
- IE : No patch for IE5, IE6, IE7, IE8 until IE9
- Webkit : Patched in r41741 -
- Chrome : Patched, unknown which version)
- Opera : Patched after version 9.64
- Thunderbird (unknown)
- Konqueror : unknown (did not respond)
- Nokia : unknown, opened a case but never came back
- Aigo P8860 : unknown
- Siemens : unknown
- Others ? Find out by visiting the POC at

I. Background
Quoting Wikipedia "ECMAScript is a scripting language, standardized by Ecma 
International in the ECMA-262 specification and ISO/IEC 16262. The language 
is widely used on the web, especially in the form of its three best-known 
dialects, JavaScript, ActionScript, and JScript."

II. Description
Calling the select() method with a large integer, results in continuos
allocation of x+n bytes of memory  exhausting memory after a while. 
The impact varies from null pointer dereference (no more memory,hence 
crashing the browser) to the reboot of the complete Operation System 

There had never been a limit specified as to how many html elements the select
call should handle, after the report of this Bug, vendors apparently agreed to a 
limit of 10.000 elements : "Talked to some Apple and Opera guys at the 
WHATWG social, and we decided this was a good number"

III. Impact
The Impact varies from Browser to Browser and from OS to OS. 

Here is a small excerpt:
- Konqueror (Ubuntu)- allocates 2GB of memory then either crashes 
the Browser or (most often) the OS reboots. Ubuntu's memory
management system appears to be configured as to NOT stop the process
that consumes too much memory, but a random process.
This sometimes leads to processes that are vital for the OS to
be killed, hence the reboot. I am not kidding. Thanks to
'FX' for Memory management hint.

- Chrome :  allocates 2GB of memory then crashes tab with a null pointer

- Firefox : allocates 2GB of memory then the Browser crashes

- IE5,6,7,8 : allocates 2GB of memory then the Browser crashes

- Opera : Allocated and commits as much memory as available, 
will not crash but other applications will become unstable 

- Nintento WII (Opera) : Console hangs, needs hard reset
Video: (Thanks to David Raison)

- Sony PS3 - Console hangs, needs hard reset 
Video: (Thanks to Chris Gates)

- iPhone - iPhone hangs and needs hard reset
Video: (Thanks to g0tcha)

- Aigo P8860 (Browser hangs and cannot be restarted)  

IV. Proof of concept 
function poc(o) {
        e = document.createElement("select");

function go() {


Some have not understood what this code does, it does NOT loop as some vendors
claimed, it just calls select.lenght() ONCE with a huge integer. One might wonder
if over the 9 last years that this bug existed, nobody ever entered a large 
number in a select.lenght() call.

IV. Disclosure timeline
Nothing particular to note, except the usual discussion about availability being
a security issue.

V. Thanks
Chris Gates, David Raison, Fahem Adam, a team of engineers that recognise themselves
and oCert for not helping coordinate this bug.

# [2009-07-15]