Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

Critical Ruby On Rails Issue Threatens 240,000 Websites

Bug allows attackers to execute arbitrary code on any version of Ruby published in the last six years.

All versions of the open source Ruby on Rails Web application framework released in the past six years have a critical vulnerability that an attacker could exploit to execute arbitrary code, steal information from databases and crash servers. As a result, all Ruby users should immediately upgrade to a newly released, patched version of the software.

That warning was sounded Tuesday in a Google Groups post made by Aaron Patterson, a key Ruby programmer. "Due to the critical nature of this vulnerability, and the fact that portions of it have been disclosed publicly, all users running an affected release should either upgrade or use one of the work arounds immediately," he wrote. The patched versions of Ruby on Rails (RoR) are 3.2.11, 3.1.10, 3.0.19 and 2.3.15.

As a result, more than 240,000 websites that use Ruby on Rails Web applications are at risk of being exploited by attackers. High-profile websites that employ the software include Basecamp, Github, Hulu, Pitchfork, Scribd and Twitter.

[ A successful crimeware toolkit author is going on a shopping spree. See Blackhole Botnet Creator Buys Up Zero Day Exploits. ]

Ben Murphy, a developer who helped to confirm the vulnerability, described the underlying flaw as "quite bad" to Ars Technica. "An attack can send a request to any Ruby on Rails sever and then execute arbitrary commands. Even though it's complex, it's reliable, so it will work 100% of the time," he said.

In a website post, Murphy further noted that the vulnerability affects "any rails version for the last 6 years," and said he'd written -- but not released -- proof-of-concept attacks that work for "Rails 3.x and Rails 2.x on Ruby 1.9.3, Ruby 1.9.2 and Ruby 1.8.7 and there is no reason to believe this wouldn't work on any Ruby/Rails combination since when the bug has been introduced." In addition, he said, "the exploit does not depend on code the user has written and will work with a new rails application without any controllers."

What's the exact nature of the vulnerability? "The summary is that the XML processor in RoR can be tricked into decoding the request as a YAML document or as a Ruby Symbol, both of which can expose the application to remote code execution or SQL injection," said HD Moore, the creator of the open source penetration testing toolkit Metasploit, in a blog post. (YAML is a human-readable data serialization format.)

"These kinds of bugs are close to my heart, as Metasploit itself is written in Ruby, and we use Ruby on Rails within the Metasploit Community, Express and Pro user interfaces," he said. But he noted that all versions of Metasploit have now been updated with a workaround to protect them against the vulnerability.

While security researchers haven't published a working, proof-of-concept exploit, many people are now hard at work studying both the vulnerability as well as techniques for exploiting it. "If this pans out, this would put thousands of production websites at risk of remote compromise," said Moore.

Vulnerability-wise, it hasn't been a good month for Ruby on Rails. Last week, the team behind the framework warned that all current versions of Rails were vulnerable to a SQL injection flaw. They simultaneously released updated versions of the framework that patched the flaw.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Andrew Hornback
50%
50%
Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/10/2013 | 2:45:11 AM
re: Critical Ruby On Rails Issue Threatens 240,000 Websites
OUCH! Looks like there are a lot of web server admins out there that are going to be putting in a little overtime this week.

How does a vulnerability like this go unnoticed for 6 years? Especially one with such ramifications. That also begs the question, what ELSE is out there, lurking in the deep waters, waiting to bite?

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor
Commentary
How SolarWinds Busted Up Our Assumptions About Code Signing
Dr. Jethro Beekman, Technical Director,  3/3/2021
News
'ObliqueRAT' Now Hides Behind Images on Compromised Websites
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  3/2/2021
News
Attackers Turn Struggling Software Projects Into Trojan Horses
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  2/26/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-27254
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-05
This vulnerability allows network-adjacent attackers to bypass authentication on affected installations of NETGEAR R7800. Authentication is not required to exploit this vulnerability. The specific flaw exists within the apply_save.cgi endpoint. This issue results from the use of hard-coded encrypti...
CVE-2021-27255
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-05
This vulnerability allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code on affected installations of NETGEAR R7800 firmware version 1.0.2.76. Authentication is not required to exploit this vulnerability. The specific flaw exists within the refresh_status.aspx endpoint. The issue results from a lack of...
CVE-2021-27256
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-05
This vulnerability allows network-adjacent attackers to execute arbitrary code on affected installations of NETGEAR R7800 firmware version 1.0.2.76. Although authentication is required to exploit this vulnerability, the existing authentication mechanism can be bypassed. The specific flaw exists wit...
CVE-2021-27257
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-05
This vulnerability allows network-adjacent attackers to compromise the integrity of downloaded information on affected installations of NETGEAR R7800 firmware version 1.0.2.76. Authentication is not required to exploit this vulnerability. The specific flaw exists within the downloading of files via...
CVE-2021-26705
PUBLISHED: 2021-03-05
An issue was discovered in SquareBox CatDV Server through 9.2. An attacker can invoke sensitive RMI methods such as getConnections without authentication, the results of which can be used to generate valid authentication tokens. These tokens can then be used to invoke administrative tasks within the...