Scheming with URLs: One-Click Attack Surface in Linux Desktop Environments


Client-side exploitation has become a crucial component of many attackers’ toolkits. In the desktop space, exploiting browsers is considered to be one of the most impactful capabilities, but due to continuous hardening measures and wide adoption of sandboxing, it is also one of the most complex. However, other components of a typical desktop environment have not been subject to the same scrutiny and can therefore pose risks that go unnoticed. Sparked by our own observations of applications helpfully spawning applications at the click of a link, we decided to investigate the security posture of a typical Linux desktop environment.

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