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Google Chrome blink Serializer::do­Serialize bad cast

(This fix and CVE number for this issue are not known)


When serializing Java­Script objects for sending to another window using the post­Message method, the code in blink does not handle Symbol objects correctly and attempts to serialize this kind of object as a regular object, which results in a bad cast. An attacker that can trigger this issue may be able to execute arbitrary code.

Known affected versions, attack vectors and mitigations

  • Chrome 38

    An attacker would need to get a target user to open a specially crafted webpage. Disabling Java­Script should prevent an attacker from triggering the vulnerable code path.




The repro causes a call to blink::V8Window::post­Message­Method­Custom (found in third_­party\webkit\source\bindings\core\v8\custom\v8windowcustom.cpp). This method creates a Serializer object for the "script value" of the symbol. In blink::`anonymous namespace'::Serializer::do­Serialize (found in third_­party\webkit\source\bindings\core\v8\serializedscriptvalue.cpp) the code attempts to determine the type of object being serialized and runs specific code to to serialize each type. This code does not distinguish between a Symbol and a regular object, and therefor runs code designed to handle the later to serialize the former. This results in a bad cast to a v8::Object.

Serializer::State­Base* Serializer::do­Serialize(v8::Handle<v8::Value> value, State­Base* next) { m_­writer.write­Reference­Count(m_­next­Object­Reference); uint32_t object­Reference; uint32_t array­Buffer­Index; if ((value->Is­Object() || value->Is­Date() || value->Is­Reg­Exp()) && m_­object­Pool.try­Get(value.As<v8::Object>(), &object­Reference)) { // Note that Is­Object() also detects wrappers (eg, it will catch the things // that we grey and write below). ASSERT(!value->Is­String()); m_­writer.write­Object­Reference(object­Reference); } else if (value.Is­Empty()) { return handle­Error(Input­Error, "The empty property name cannot be cloned.", next); } else if (value->Is­Undefined()) { m_­writer.write­Undefined(); /*** SNIP more special cases for various object types, but not Symbol ***/ } else { /*** No special case; treat as a regular object: the bad cast happens here ***/ v8::Handle<v8::Object> js­Object = value.As<v8::Object>(); /*** SNIP code proceeds to use the badly cast object ***/ } return 0; }


The exploitability of a bad cast depends on many things, including what properties and methods the real object type and the object type it was cast to have, how much control an attacker has over the values of properties of the object, how the code proceeds to use the badly cast object, compiler optimizations, heap management, etc... Without further investigation it is impossible to say what an attacker could gain from exploiting this vulnerability. In this specific case, I did not have time to investigate exploitability on Google Chrome releases, so I cannot proof this is actually exploitable.


  • October 2014: This vulnerability was found through fuzzing.
  • November 2014: This vulnerability was submitted to ZDI, i­Defense and EIP.
  • December 2014: This issue appears to have been fixed and no longer reproduces.
  • December 2014: ZDI, i­Defense and EIP all either reject the submission or fail to respond.
  • November 2016: Details of this issue are released.
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