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[R1] IBM WebSphere Application Server Admin Console File Disclosure

Medium

Synopsis

While developing a Nessus plugin, Tenable found a file disclosure vulnerability in WebSphere Application Server Admin Console. The vulnerability is the result of a couple of issues:

  1. Insufficient validation of user input in the cheatSheetURI parameter allows attackers to submit arbitrary file paths.
  2. External XML DTD entities are enabled by default.

To trigger this vulnerability, the attacker must have sufficient access to create files on the WebSphere Application Server. The file the attacker needs to create contains an external entity declaration to the file they want to read. For example, the following contains an external declaration to /etc/passwd:

<!ENTITY % rrr SYSTEM "file:///etc/passwd">
<cheatsheet><intro><description>&rrr;</description></intro></cheatsheet>

An attacker with sufficient permissions can force WebSphere to disclose the contents of /etc/passwd by using directory traversal to the malicious XML via the cheatSheetURI parameter:

https://<IP address of your server>:9043/ibm/console/guidedactivity/cheatSheetNav.jsp?cheatSheetURI=../../../../../../../../../../../tmp/1.xml
This allows an attacker to utilize IBM WebSphere Application Server's privileges to get access to confidential data stored on the vulnerable server.

Solution

IBM has released an advisory with patches for versions 7, 8, 8.5, and 9. Follow their patching guide to fix this vulnerability.

Disclosure Timeline

07/25/2018 - Vendor informed via encrypted email to [email protected]
07/25/2018 - IBM asks if Tenable wants to participate in HackerOne.
07/25/2018 - Tenable declines.
07/26/2018 - IBM acknowledges the vulnerabilities and 90 day date (Oct. 23).
08/01/2018 - IBM indicates XSS is by design. Fixing the other issue(s).
09/17/2018 - Tenable asks for an update on the timeline.
09/17/2018 - IBM says they'll let us know when it is ready.
09/18/2018 - Tenable asks for a more specific details.
09/18/2018 - IBM decides both issues are not vulnerabilities.
09/19/2018 - Tenable pushes back and asks IBM why they think OOB-XXE is covered by their CSRF setting.
09/20/2018 - IBM back tracks. Says XSS is by design and OOB-XXE has been assigned CVE and is being worked on.
09/20/2018 - Tenable acknowledges and asks for the CVE.
09/20/2018 - IBM says legal prevents them from sharing CVE information before disclosure.
09/21/2018 - Tenable asks if they will be notified of the bulletin release before or after it happens. Asks why legal doesn't allow sharing of CVE?
09/21/2018 - IBM indicates they will inform Tenable at the time of publication.
09/21/2018 - Tenable pushes to be notified before publication occurs.
09/21/2018 - IBM cites their policy, "To protect our customers, IBM does not publically disclose or confirm security vulnerabilities until IBM has conducted an analysis of the product and issued fixes and/or mitigations."
09/21/2018 - Tenable reminds IBM that Tenable already knows what the vulnerabilities are because they found them.
09/21/2018 - IBM will "do my best" to give Tenable a heads up.
10/12/2018 - IBM informs Tenable that they've released an advisory.

All information within TRA advisories is provided “as is”, without warranty of any kind, including the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, and with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness. Individuals and organizations are responsible for assessing the impact of any actual or potential security vulnerability.

Tenable takes product security very seriously. If you believe you have found a vulnerability in one of our products, we ask that you please work with us to quickly resolve it in order to protect customers. Tenable believes in responding quickly to such reports, maintaining communication with researchers, and providing a solution in short order.

For more details on submitting vulnerability information, please see our Vulnerability Reporting Guidelines page.

If you have questions or corrections about this advisory, please email [email protected]

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