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On 08/15/2001, Cert issued a Vulnerability Note VU#476267 for a "Cross-Protocol" scripting attack, known as the HTML Form Protocol Attack which allowed sending arbitrary data to most TCP ports. A simple exploit of this hole allows an attacker to send forged unsigned mail through a mail server behind your firewall: A really nasty hole.
Mozilla responded by modifying how protocols can access ports.
By default, Mozilla now blocks access to specific ports which are used by vulnerable services in order to prevent security vulnerabilites due to "Cross-Protocol Scripting". Each protocol's handler can override this blocking for itself in order to enable the required access for that protocol.
Potential Problems caused by Port Blocking
Port blocking can cause problems if a site or web application requires access to one of the ports which is blocked in Mozilla. If a user attempts to access a URI on a blocked port, Mozilla shows one of the following alerts to the user or in the Error Console.
"Access to the port number given has been disabled for security reasons." "Establishing a connection to an unsafe or otherwise banned port was prohibited" "0x804b0013 (NS_ERROR_PORT_ACCESS_NOT_ALLOWED)"
If your product or web site uses a port which is blocked by Mozilla's default port blocking rules, you can either change the port of your service to a unblocked value (recommended if possible) or ask your Mozilla users to enable the port. For details on which ports are blocked and how to override the blocking see below.
Modifying Mozilla's port blocking at Run time
Users can modify the default port blocking through the addition of preferences containing comma delimited lists of port numbers to the
user.js file (for single users with the
user_pref(…) command) in the user's profile directory. See the example below. Additionaly administrators can edit the
all.js file (for multi-user systems with
pref(…) ) in the
defaults/pref/ sub-directory in the installation directory.
Ports blocked by default in Mozilla:
|135||loc-srv / epmap|
|512||print / exec|
Protocol Specific Exceptions
Each Protocol Handler can override the global blocked ports to allow it's own protocol to function.
Ports enabled by protocol handlers in Mozilla:
|Protocol Handler||Allowed Ports|
How to Change Mozilla port blocking permanently
Since each protocol can determine which ports are blocked, you should contact the protocol handler owner to request that a specific port be blocked or unblocked. If that fails, contact email@example.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You must have a good reason for the change, a deep understanding of the security risk involved and be able to justify it.
Things to do
- Allow user preference to override default port blocking. Currently you need to add preferences to either
all.js. See bug 85601.
- Per protocol port blocking/enabling preferences.
- Better User Interface
- Allow the user to decide if the blocking is really required.
- Some kind of way to manage the ports which are blocked.