In the Edge browser there is a browser process running in the same appcontainer defined by its appx manifest, but there are also tab processes. These tab processes are running in restricted app containers that have fewer appx capabilities. The browser process has XAML loaded and coordinates between tabs and handles some (non-WinRT) brokering from the tab processes. The tab processes load edgehtml and that is where they render HTML, talk to the network and execute script.
The ApplicationContentUriRules (ACUR) section of the appx manifest lets an application define what URIs are considered app code. See a previous post for the list of ACUR effects.
Notably app code is able to access WinRT APIs. Because of this, DOM security restrictions are loosended to match what is possible with WinRT.
Privileged DOM APIs like geolocation, camera, mic etc require a user prompt in the browser before use. App code does not show the same browser prompt. There still may be an OS prompt – the same prompt that applies to any UWP app, but that’s usually per app not per origin.
App code also gets to use XMLHttpRequest or fetch to access cross origin content. Because UWP apps have separate state, cross origin here might not mean much to an attacker unless your app also has the user login to Facebook or some other interesting cross origin target.
In IE10 and other new browsers one may create MessageChannel objects that have two MessagePorts each connected (w3c spec calls it entangled) to one another such that postMessage on one port results in the message event firing on the other. You can pass an array of ports as the last parameter to postMessage and they show up in the ports property of the message event arg.
The postMessage here is like the worker postMessage and unlike the window and iframe postMessage in that it applies no origin checking:
Unfortunately the origin isn't an optional parameter at the end to make the two postMessages have the same signature.
On the event handler side, the event arg always has an origin property. But in the no origin case it is always the empty string.
There is also a source property on the message event arg which if set is an object that has a postMessage property allowing you to post back to your caller. It is set for the origin case, however, in the no origin case this property is null. This is somewhat reasonable because in the case of MessagePort and Workers there are only two endpoints so you always know the source of a message implicitly. Unlike the origin case in which any iframe or window can be calling postMessage on any other iframe or window and the caller is unknown. So not unreasonable but it would be nice if the source property was always set for consistency.
When a MessageChannel is created it has two MessagePorts, but until those ports are started they will queue up any messages they receive. Once started they will dispatch all queued messages. Ports don't have to be started to send messages.
A port may be started in two ways, either by explicitly calling the start method on the port, or by setting the onmessage callback property on the port. However, adding an event listener via addEventListener("message", does not start the port. It works this way in IE and Chrome and the spec states this as well.
The justification is that since you can have only one callback via onmessage that once set you must implicitly be ready to receive messages and its fine to start the port. As opposed to the addEventListener in which case the user agent cannot start implicitly because it doesn't know how many event listeners will be added. I found Hixie stating this justification in geoloc meeting notes.
Working on GeolocMock it took me a bit to realize why my HTML could use the W3C Geolocation API in IE9 but not in my WebBrowser control in my .NET application. Eventually I realized that I was getting the wrong IE doc mode. Reading this old More IE8 Extensibility Improvements IE blog post from the IE blog I found the issue is that for app compat the WebOC picks older doc modes but an app hosting the WebOC can set a regkey to get different doc modes. The IE9 mode isn't listed in that article but I took a guess based on the values there and the decimal value 9999 gets my app IE9 mode. The following is the code I run in my application to set its regkey so that my app can get the IE9 doc mode and use the geolocation API.
static private void UseIE9DocMode()
RegistryKey key = null;
key = Registry.CurrentUser.OpenSubKey("Software\\Microsoft\\Internet Explorer\\Main\\FeatureControl\\FEATURE_BROWSER_EMULATION", true);
key = Registry.CurrentUser.CreateSubKey("Software\\Microsoft\\Internet Explorer\\Main\\FeatureControl\\FEATURE_BROWSER_EMULATION");
key.SetValue(System.Diagnostics.Process.GetCurrentProcess().MainModule.ModuleName, 9999, RegistryValueKind.DWord);
I've made GeolocMock. If your PC has no geolocation devices, IE9 uses a webservice to determine your location. GeolocMock uses FiddlerCore to intercept the response from the webservice and allows the user to replace the location in the response with another. This was a fun weekend project in order to play with FiddlerCore, the W3C Geoloc APIs in IE9, hosting the IE9 WebOC in a .NET app, and the Bing Maps APIs.