|By Jared Day||
|April 5, 2012 10:00 AM EDT||
When we aren't fighting crime, taking over the world, or enjoying a good book by the fire, we here on the eEye Research team like to participate in the Any Means Possible (AMP) Penetration Testing engagements with our clients. For us, it's a great way to interact one-on-one with IT folks and really dig into the security problems that they are facing. We can sharpen our skills with real-world scenarios and practice the academic techniques presented in the industry, all the while helping to connect better with our customers and identify their security needs. During these engagements, we target a number of attack surfaces, ranging from exposed external server interfaces to client-side attacks launched on individual workstations. What I would like to talk about today is centered purely on the web-based attack surface, with a common problem we see consistently during our AMP engagements.
When talking about web vulnerabilities, you can't even begin to breach the subject without someone throwing out Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) or SQL Injection (SQLi). Unfortunately, poor little web services never seem to get any attention in the mix. Web service vulnerabilities are arguably just as widespread and dangerous as the aforementioned classes of vulnerabilities, but with so little talk and discussion around them, very rarely are these issues identified and remediated. Let's fix that.
Figure 1: Demo Microsoft Silverlight application. The left is a failed attempt to login and reveal the user's secret data, the right is a successful login.
Many browser applications, such as Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight, communicate back to the server programmatically using web services. These services are exposed interfaces on the server that can be called directly from custom-written applications. In many situations, these services can expose potentially sensitive and privileged information that would otherwise not be accessible. Figure 1 shows a Microsoft Silverlight application that was constructed for demonstration purposes. This application is not vulnerable to XSS or SQLi and, to the average user, there is nothing about this application that allows someone without a password to access the legitimate user's secret data. However, what a lot of people don't seem to take into consideration is that you have access to anything that is running in your browser. Now, we can't pull the entire project down off of the server, but we can reverse-engineer the application interface running in the browser to see if there is anything potentially sensitive that is being exposed.
The first thing that should be done when auditing web sites is to make sure all requests are being logged through a local request proxy. For this example, I will be using Tamper Data (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tamper-data/) to log all of the requests that FireFox makes to our target Silverlight application. Right away, we see that the application requests an XAP file, shown in Figure 2. This is a fun thing to play around with that I will come back to later. As soon as we click the button on the page, we see the browser make a request to an SVC file; this is our web services interface and is also shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Browser makes requests for an XAP file and an SVC file. The XAP file is loaded immediately into the browser when the application is started and the SVC file is loaded as soon as the user attempts to submit data back to the server.
Now, when we find a site serving up an SVC web services file, it's usually game over for that particular site. The reason is that these interfaces are usually trusted by the developer. Developers will assume that the only thing calling these exposed interfaces is the client application that they wrote. However, browsing to the service file directly in your favorite web browser will usually show you the basic interface of the exposed web service. The next step is creating a custom application to interface with the web service directly. You can use any language that you want as long as it can interface with a web server, but I usually like to use C# in Visual Studio. Creating the application is quite easy - simply create a new C# project and add a service reference to the hosted SVC file. Visual Studio will automatically import all of the references to everything exposed by the service. Figure 3 shows what is exposed by the sample service.
Figure 3: Object Viewer's list of the imported Web Services interface.
This service exports two functions: GetUserSecret and Login. The interesting thing here is that GetUserSecret takes a string and gives back a string, likely representing the secret data associated with that provided user. Now, it's perfectly possible that there is some form of authentication check that happens on the server side when this function is called, which ensures no secrets are disclosed to unauthenticated clients. However, in many situations I have encountered, this is not the case. We can test if code is properly checking for authentication by writing our own custom interface for the exposed web service. The following code snippet instantiates a client and queries for the secret data of two users without first authenticating with the server. Figure 4 shows the output from that program.
LoginService.LoginServiceClient client = new LoginService.LoginServiceClient();
Console.WriteLine("eEyeResearch's secret: "+client.GetUserSecret("eEyeResearch"));
Console.WriteLine("admin's secret: " + client.GetUserSecret("admin"));
Figure 4: Output from the code written to call the example service directly.
The output from our code shows that this exposed service is callable directly, without requiring any authentication. The only information needed is the user's name and, as many of you know from attacks that have made the press over the past year, that information can be acquired through social engineering or brute force style attacks quite easily.
This vulnerability is quite straightforward, but I think many of you would be surprised how often we encounter issues very similar to this in real-world penetration testing scenarios. It's a fairly easy mistake to make, to assume that any malicious tampering of a web page would be done through a browser or front-end web application, but the simple truth is that this is not the case.
If you wanted to take this a bit further, you could examine the manifest files that are used by the client-side browser application. Remember the XAP file mentioned at the beginning? That file is actually a ZIP archive containing manifest information and binary executable files used by the Silverlight application. Examining these files will show you all of the web services APIs that the application can potentially call, even the authenticated ones. This information has proven to be quite useful on various engagements. A simple web application, that wasn't vulnerable to XSS or SQLi, revealed a manifest of previously unknown web services, which eventually allowed downloading all of the information hidden behind the login page. Because these services were only referenced after the user had authenticated through the login screen, these APIs may have never been found with a purely unauthenticated audit had the manifest files not been checked for additional exposed interfaces.
As if freely available manifest information wasn't enough, the DLL files presented in this archive can also prove to be a lot of fun. Ask any professional or hobby reverse-code engineer, languages such as Java or C# are quite easy to decompile. Due to the managed nature of such languages, there are actually freely available tools that do quite a good job of turning the compiled binaries back into the original (or very similar) high-level code. These DLLs only represent the client-side browser code that gets executed by Silverlight in the browser, so you won't be getting the original server code out of this. However, a very common mistake made by programmers is to incorporate some of the application logic into the user interface as well. In these situations, such reversing sessions may yield valuable information about how the application is working behind the scenes. In fact, this has been used in the past to gain all kinds of interesting information about target applications, including default credentials to the authenticated sections of the application, which were set in a button click-event handler of the application's user interface.
Though this entire article has been purely focused on Silverlight, the same concept applies to most other client-side web applications out there. Often times, these applications will rely on web services in order to communicate with the server, for both unauthenticated and authenticated communications alike. Developers often times rely on the client-side application to do all of the relevant filtering and data integrity checking of information being sent to these web services.
Problems centered on web service APIs can potentially be just as dangerous as an SQLi vulnerability. It's somewhat unfortunate that SQLi has become so trendy, taking away any deserved fame or glory from the other interesting web vulnerabilities. It's important to keep in mind that, though this was a very heavily focused Microsoft and Silverlight example, the same issues apply across the board in many different web application technologies. The issue is actually very easy to audit for, especially if you already know exactly what your application should and shouldn't be able to do at every level of authentication.
I recommend if you manage servers hosting websites or you manage the websites that you take a few minutes to sit down and browse through each of these services. Be aware of exactly what is exposed on the external facing interfaces. If anything looks out of place, try connecting directly to the service and see what information is exposed and available to your users. Try preventing the service from displaying its metadata by removing the mex endpoint binding and setting httpGetEnabled for service metadata to false in the web configuration file. This prevents users from reading the web services descriptions and makes it nontrivial to arbitrarily connect and communicate with these services without prior knowledge of the internal workings of the application. These problems are quite easy to identify, potentially trivial to remediate, and can save an organization from a serious compromise if steps are taken to proactively identify and address these issues.
• • •
This article was written by Jared Day, a researcher with eEye's Research Team led by Marc Maiffret.
If you are interested in learning more about our AMP services, you can visit our page here (http://www.eeye.com/services/penetration-testing).
How can you compare one technology or tool to its competitors? Usually, there is no objective comparison available. So how do you know which is better? Eclipse or IntelliJ IDEA? Java EE or Spring? C# or Java? All you can usually find is a holy war and biased comparisons on vendor sites. But luckily, sometimes, you can find a fair comparison. How does this come to be? By having it co-authored by the stakeholders. The binary repository comparison matrix is one of those rare resources. It is edite...
May. 23, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,399
Container frameworks, such as Docker, provide a variety of benefits, including density of deployment across infrastructure, convenience for application developers to push updates with low operational hand-holding, and a fairly well-defined deployment workflow that can be orchestrated. Container frameworks also enable a DevOps approach to application development by cleanly separating concerns between operations and development teams. But running multi-container, multi-server apps with containers ...
May. 23, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,666
Converging digital disruptions is creating a major sea change - Cisco calls this the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the network connection of People, Process, Data and Things, fueled by Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Security, and it represents a $19Trillion value-at-stake over the next 10 years. In her keynote at @ThingsExpo, Manjula Talreja, VP of Cisco Consulting Services, will discuss IoE and the enormous opportunities it provides to public and private firms alike. She will shar...
May. 23, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,765
Software development, like manufacturing, is a craft that requires the application of creative approaches to solve problems given a wide range of constraints. However, while engineering design may be craftwork, the production of most designed objects relies on a standardized and automated manufacturing process. By contrast, much of moving an application from prototype to production and, indeed, maintaining the application through its lifecycle has often remained craftwork. In his session at Dev...
May. 23, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,075
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading in...
May. 23, 2015 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,283
With the advent of micro-services, the application design paradigm has undergone a major shift. The days of developing monolithic applications are over. We are bringing in the principles (read SOA) hereto the preserve of applications or system integration space into the application development world. Since the micro-services are consumed within the application, the need of ESB is not there. There is no message transformation or mediations required. But service discovery and load balancing of ...
May. 23, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,505
There’s a lot of discussion around managing outages in production via the likes of DevOps principles and the corresponding software development lifecycles that does enable higher quality output from development, however, one cannot lay all blame for “bugs” and failures at the feet of those responsible for coding and development. As developers incorporate features and benefits of these paradigm shift, there is a learning curve and a point of not-knowing-what-is-not-known. Sometimes, the only way ...
May. 23, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 814
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session a...
May. 23, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,714
The integration between the 2 solutions is handled by a module provided by XebiaLabs that will ensure the containers are correctly defined in the XL Deloy repository based on the information managed by Puppet. It uses the REST API offered by the XL Deploy server: so the security permissions are checked as a operator could do it using the GUI or the CLI. This article shows you how use the xebialabs/xldeploy Puppet module. The Production environment is based on 2 tomcats instances (tomcat1 &...
May. 23, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,754
SYS-CON Events announced today that EnterpriseDB (EDB), the leading worldwide provider of enterprise-class Postgres products and database compatibility solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EDB is the largest provider of Postgres software and services that provides enterprise-class performance and scalability and the open source freedom to divert budget from more costly traditiona...
May. 23, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,351
Do you think development teams really update those BMC Remedy tickets with all the changes contained in a release? They don't. Most of them just "check the box" and move on. They rose a Risk Level that won't raise questions from the Change Control managers and they work around the checks and balances. The alternative is to stop and wait for a department that still thinks releases are rare events. When a release happens every day there's just not enough time for people to attend CAB meeting...
May. 23, 2015 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,118
There is no doubt that Big Data is here and getting bigger every day. Building a Big Data infrastructure today is no easy task. There are an enormous number of choices for database engines and technologies. To make things even more challenging, requirements are getting more sophisticated, and the standard paradigm of supporting historical analytics queries is often just one facet of what is needed. As Big Data growth continues, organizations are demanding real-time access to data, allowing immed...
May. 23, 2015 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,615
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists will peel away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud en...
May. 23, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,641
There is no question that the cloud is where businesses want to host data. Until recently hypervisor virtualization was the most widely used method in cloud computing. Recently virtual containers have been gaining in popularity, and for good reason. In the debate between virtual machines and containers, the latter have been seen as the new kid on the block – and like other emerging technology have had some initial shortcomings. However, the container space has evolved drastically since coming on...
May. 23, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 905
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "First Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. The “Second Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place November 3-5, 2015, at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
May. 23, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,747
In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, president of Intellyx, panelists Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at Akana; Lori MacVittie, IoT_Microservices Power PanelEvangelist for F5 Networks; and Troy Topnik, ActiveState’s Technical Product Manager; will peel away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of ...
May. 23, 2015 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,323
Data-intensive companies that strive to gain insights from data using Big Data analytics tools can gain tremendous competitive advantage by deploying data-centric storage. Organizations generate large volumes of data, the vast majority of which is unstructured. As the volume and velocity of this unstructured data increases, the costs, risks and usability challenges associated with managing the unstructured data (regardless of file type, size or device) increases simultaneously, including end-to-...
May. 23, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 4,059
Announced separately, New Relic is joining the Cloud Foundry Foundation to continue the support of customers and partners investing in this leading PaaS. As a member, New Relic is contributing the New Relic tile, service broker and build pack with the goal of easing the development of applications on Cloud Foundry and enabling the success of these applications without dedicated monitoring infrastructure. Supporting Quotes "The proliferation of microservices and new technologies like Docker ha...
May. 23, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,555
You often hear the two titles of "DevOps" and "Immutable Infrastructure" used independently. In his session at DevOps Summit, John Willis, Technical Evangelist for Docker, will cover the union between the two topics and why this is important. He will cover an overview of Immutable Infrastructure then show how an Immutable Continuous Delivery pipeline can be applied as a best practice for "DevOps." He will end the session with some interesting case study examples.
May. 23, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,458
SYS-CON Media named Andi Mann editor of DevOps Journal. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. DevOps Journal brings valuable information to DevOps professionals who are transforming the way enterprise IT is done. Andi Mann, Vice President, Strategic Solutions, at CA Technologies, is an accomplished digital business executive with extensive global expertise as a strategist, technologist, innovator, marketer, communicator, and thought lea...
May. 23, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,022