XSL Script Processing

Adversaries may bypass application control and obscure execution of code by embedding scripts inside XSL files. Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) files are commonly used to describe the processing and rendering of data within XML files. To support complex operations, the XSL standard includes support for embedded scripting in various languages.

Adversaries may abuse this functionality to execute arbitrary files while potentially bypassing application control. Similar to Trusted Developer Utilities Proxy Execution, the Microsoft common line transformation utility binary (msxsl.exe) can be installed and used to execute malicious JavaScript embedded within local or remote (URL referenced) XSL files. Since msxsl.exe is not installed by default, an adversary will likely need to package it with dropped files. Msxsl.exe takes two main arguments, an XML source file and an XSL stylesheet. Since the XSL file is valid XML, the adversary may call the same XSL file twice. When using msxsl.exe adversaries may also give the XML/XSL files an arbitrary file extension.


GSPBC-1079 - Defense Evasion - XSL Script Processing