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.

Analytics

Vulnerabilities Could Expose Broad Range of Java Apps

Newly discovered flaws in open-source framework could allow attackers to alter data or hijack Web applications

Researchers today revealed two new security vulnerabilities in the Spring Framework -- a commonly used, open-source environment for developing Java applications.

The vulnerabilities could affect "countless" enterprises and applications that use Spring, according to researchers at Ounce Labs , which makes source-code-analysis tools. The design flaws may eventually be found in other Java development environments as well, the Ounce researchers say.

"If you are using Spring and you haven't done anything to address these issues, then you are vulnerable," says Ryan Berg, co-founder and chief scientist at Ounce Labs.

"[Spring] is a fairly commonly used framework, and I would suspect that Websites will be vulnerable to one or both of these vulnerabilities until they patch up," says Robert Hansen (aka RSnake), CEO of SecTheory, a consultancy that specializes in Web application security.

The first vulnerability allows an attacker to append queries or other data to user input in a database field, which could make it possible to take action on behalf of the user or break into and modify the application itself, Berg says. "For example, you could go in and modify the state and transaction history of a stock trade," he says.

"It allows the attacker to bypass client-side security and potentially overwrite database fields using an HTTP proxy," Hansen observes. "It’s not SQL injection, since you can’t read the fields, but it would allow you to potentially jump into other people’s accounts, raise privileges, change data that you had already previously written and [previously] validated, and so on."

The flaw, dubbed "ModelView Injection" takes advantage of a design flaw in Spring, which doesn't provide sufficient default safeguards in the link between the application "model" -- the actual data that the user is trying to reach -- and the "view," which is the graphical presentation that the Web application uses.

"Most Spring applications automatically bind the model and the view in a one-to-one match, so that you can send more data in the request, and Spring will automatically append that data," Berg explains. A savvy attacker could use this flaw to query the application for more information or actually make changes in data fields, he says.

The second vulnerability would require more knowledge and effort on the attacker's part, but is potentially more dangerous, Ounce Labs says. Called "Data Submission to Non-Editable Fields," the flaw allows attackers to query the application for information.

"It would allow an attacker to read any of the Java source code of a vulnerable Website, which could reveal all sorts of sensitive information that wouldn’t normally be visible to an attacker," Hansen says.

Ounce emphasizes that the new class of vulnerabilities are not comprised of security flaws within the framework, but are actually design issues which, if not implemented properly, could expose business-critical applications to attacks. Since the flaws are a part of the development process, rather than specific Spring code, it's likely that other Java environments that use this process -- including the open-source STRUTS, Ruby on Rails, or even Microsoft's .Net -- might also be vulnerable.

Ounce recommends making changes in applications that use the "Model View" approach, essentially eliminating the automatic bind when sensitive data is involved. But making this fix won't be easy, because it requires fixing the way the application was designed, rather than just replacing vulnerable code.

"In some cases, you may be better off replacing the controller [which acts as a traffic cop between the model and the view], rather than trying to retrofit it," Berg says.

In addition to the vulnerability report, Ounce has published a white paper that offers recommendations on how to fix vulnerable applications and improve development processes in the future. To get the white paper, users have to register on the Ounce Labs site.

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.

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)
  • Ounce Labs Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio
     

    Recommended Reading:

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
    COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
    Dark Reading Staff 6/5/2020
    How AI and Automation Can Help Bridge the Cybersecurity Talent Gap
    Peter Barker, Chief Product Officer at ForgeRock,  6/1/2020
    Cybersecurity Spending Hits 'Temporary Pause' Amid Pandemic
    Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  6/2/2020
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Video
    Cartoon Contest
    Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
    Latest Comment: What? IT said I needed virus protection!
    Current Issue
    How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
    This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
    Flash Poll
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    CVE-2020-13864
    PUBLISHED: 2020-06-05
    The Elementor Page Builder plugin before 2.9.9 for WordPress suffers from a stored XSS vulnerability. An author user can create posts that result in a stored XSS by using a crafted payload in custom links.
    CVE-2020-13865
    PUBLISHED: 2020-06-05
    The Elementor Page Builder plugin before 2.9.9 for WordPress suffers from multiple stored XSS vulnerabilities. An author user can create posts that result in stored XSS vulnerabilities, by using a crafted link in the custom URL or by applying custom attributes.
    CVE-2020-11696
    PUBLISHED: 2020-06-05
    In Combodo iTop a menu shortcut name can be exploited with a stored XSS payload. This is fixed in all iTop packages (community, essential, professional) in version 2.7.0 and iTop essential and iTop professional in version 2.6.4.
    CVE-2020-11697
    PUBLISHED: 2020-06-05
    In Combodo iTop, dashboard ids can be exploited with a reflective XSS payload. This is fixed in all iTop packages (community, essential, professional) for version 2.7.0 and in iTop essential and iTop professional packages for version 2.6.4.
    CVE-2020-13646
    PUBLISHED: 2020-06-05
    In the cheetah free wifi 5.1 driver file liebaonat.sys, local users are allowed to cause a denial of service (BSOD) or other unknown impact due to failure to verify the value of a specific IOCTL.