Vulnerabilities / Threats
2/2/2010
10:43 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Black Hat DC: Researchers Reveal Connection String 'Pollution' Attack

Tool released tests for so-called Connection String Parameter Pollution (CSPP) attack

WASHINGTON, DC -- Black Hat DC 2010 -- A pair of Spanish researchers here today demonstrated a way to hack the connection between a Web application and a database, letting the attacker hijack Web credentials and perform other nefarious activities.

The so-called Connection String Parameter Pollution (CSPP) attack exploits poorly secured dynamic connections between Web apps and databases, namely ones that still use semicolons as separators between data such as the data source, user ID, and password associated with a connection to the database, for instance. "If an attacker pollutes the parametershe will have full control of the connection string and can overwrite anything in it," says Jose Palazon, a researcher with Informatica 64, who along with colleague Chema Alonso demonstrated the CSPP attack.

Palazon and Alonso say CSPP lets an attacker steal hashes and scan ports on a server as well. They also released a tool today called CSPP Scanner that allows organizations to test whether they are vulnerable to this form of attack.

CSPP basically injects or pollutes connection strings between the Web application authenticating a user to the database, for example, by injecting phony parameters into the connection strings using semicolons as separators, which allows the attacker to take over the application and the way it's authenticated, the researchers say.

This type of attack is easy to execute, they say, and thus likely to be exploited.

Among the products the researchers were able to wage CSPP attacks against are ASP.NET Enterprise Manager and myLittleAdmin, which they demonstrated today. Oracle's software is also susceptible to these attacks in Windows and Linux environments, according to the researchers.

The ConnectionStringBuilder feature in Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 is safe from Connection String Parameter Pollution attacks because you can't inject into its connection string.

"All the application vendors [here] have been notified" about these attacks, Alonso says, and they have issued patches.

So how do you defend against a CSPP attack? "Harden your firewall," Alonso says. "[Ensure] that every outbound connection is the one you want. You don't want your application server making [unauthorized] outbound connections."

Other ways to counter these attacks is to review and harden your internal accounts and policies, including that of your Web application server, Web server, and database. And deploy ConnectionStringBuilder, the researcher say. "And filter the semicolon," Alonso says.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
5 Security Technologies to Watch in 2017
Emerging tools and services promise to make a difference this year. Are they on your company's list?
Flash Poll
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
The transition from DevOps to SecDevOps is combining with the move toward cloud computing to create new challenges - and new opportunities - for the information security team. Download this report, to learn about the new best practices for secure application development.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7445
Published: 2015-10-15
The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem in the Linux kernel through 4.x mishandles requests for Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) objects, which allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via an application that processes graphics data, as demonstrated b...

CVE-2015-4948
Published: 2015-10-15
netstat in IBM AIX 5.3, 6.1, and 7.1 and VIOS 2.2.x, when a fibre channel adapter is used, allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2015-5660
Published: 2015-10-15
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in eXtplorer before 2.1.8 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests that execute PHP code.

CVE-2015-6003
Published: 2015-10-15
Directory traversal vulnerability in QNAP QTS before 4.1.4 build 0910 and 4.2.x before 4.2.0 RC2 build 0910, when AFP is enabled, allows remote attackers to read or write to arbitrary files by leveraging access to an OS X (1) user or (2) guest account.

CVE-2015-6333
Published: 2015-10-15
Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) 1.1j allows local users to gain privileges via vectors involving addition of an SSH key, aka Bug ID CSCuw46076.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
In past years, security researchers have discovered ways to hack cars, medical devices, automated teller machines, and many other targets. Dark Reading Executive Editor Kelly Jackson Higgins hosts researcher Samy Kamkar and Levi Gundert, vice president of threat intelligence at Recorded Future, to discuss some of 2016's most unusual and creative hacks by white hats, and what these new vulnerabilities might mean for the coming year.