Vulnerabilities / Threats
12/8/2009
05:24 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Hacker Exposes Unfixed Security Flaws In Pentagon Website

Romanian hacker posts proof-of-concept attacks for Pentagon's public Website

A Romanian hacker has posted a proof-of-concept attack exploiting vulnerabilities on the Pentagon's public Website that were first exposed several months ago and remain unfixed.

The hacker, who goes by Ne0h, demonstrated input validation errors in the site's Web application that allow an attacker to wage a cross-site scripting (XSS) attack. The XSS vulnerability had been previously disclosed by at least two other researchers several months ago -- and Ne0h's findings show the bug is still on the site.

The site, which is run by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, is basically a tourist site for the Pentagon and doesn't appear to house any sensitive data. But a security researcher who studied the Ne0h's work says the Pentagon Website could be used to redirect users to a malicious site posing as the Pentagon site.

Daniel Kennedy, partner with Praetorian Security Group, says the session ID appears to be a tracking cookie, and JavaScript can be injected into the page itself to redirect a user to another site, for instance. "Since I can pass that page a reference to an external JavaScript, I can do most anything I can do in JavaScript," says Kennedy, who blogged about the find yesterday. "That includes basic stuff, like crafting a URL to send to users that appears to be from the Pentagon, but actually redirects to 'evil.org,'" for example, he says.

Kennedy says another possible attack would be on more sensitive sites under the Pentagon's domain, which is afis.osd.mil. "The next thing I would do if testing...is to attempt to do some cookie manipulation to try to affect the behavior of, or grab cookies from, a more sensitive site under the same domain. I don't know that it's possible -- the cookies I checked were set properly with the subdomain -- but it's the next thing I would play with," he says. "The black-hat world is not limited by the limitations of my imagination, though."

Ne0h also demonstrated in his blog post an attack exploiting an iFrame inclusion flaw on the Pentagon's site. The attacker can load content from another Website onto the Pentagon Website, according to Kennedy.

The bugs are a result of weak validation values received by the browser in a photo-album application that includes tours of the Pentagon, according to Kennedy.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs had not responded to requests for an interview on the vulnerabilities as of this posting.

Kennedy says he doesn't know whether the DoD had been alerted of these bugs, but that it doesn't appear any fixes were attempted. "The Pentagon will always be the subject of unsolicited penetration tests from around the world. Their logs would show the attacks the site is facing -- many are probably not relevant, but this one was," he 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
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Partner Perspectives
What's This?
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2012-2413
Published: 2014-10-20
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the ja_purity template for Joomla! 1.5.26 and earlier allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the Mod* cookie parameter to html/modules.php.

CVE-2012-5244
Published: 2014-10-20
Multiple SQL injection vulnerabilities in Banana Dance B.2.6 and earlier allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the (1) return, (2) display, (3) table, or (4) search parameter to functions/suggest.php; (5) the id parameter to functions/widgets.php, (6) the category parameter to...

CVE-2012-5694
Published: 2014-10-20
Multiple SQL injection vulnerabilities in Bulb Security Smartphone Pentest Framework (SPF) before 0.1.3 allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the (1) agentPhNo, (2) controlPhNo, (3) agentURLPath, (4) agentControlKey, or (5) platformDD1 parameter to frameworkgui/attach2Agents.p...

CVE-2012-5695
Published: 2014-10-20
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in Bulb Security Smartphone Pentest Framework (SPF) 0.1.2 through 0.1.4 allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that conduct (1) shell metacharacter or (2) SQL injection attacks or (3) send an SMS m...

CVE-2012-5696
Published: 2014-10-20
Bulb Security Smartphone Pentest Framework (SPF) before 0.1.3 does not properly restrict access to frameworkgui/config, which allows remote attackers to obtain the plaintext database password via a direct request.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.