According to the links within this article, although the root URI of the router requires authentication, the /password.cgi URI doesn’t and the resulting returned HTML contains (but does not display) the plaintext of the password, as well as an HTML FORM to modify the password that is exploitable by CSRF.
The attack… infected more than 4.5 million DSL modems… The CSRF (cross-site request forgery) vulnerability allowed attackers to use a simple script to steal passwords required to remotely log in to and control the devices. The attackers then configured the modems to use malicious domain name system servers that caused users trying to visit popular websites to instead connect to booby-trapped imposter sites.
> Registered Users
<%= user[:username] %>
(password: <%= user[:password] %>, last active <%= last_active %>)
The level 4 web application lets you transfer karma to another user and in doing so you are also forced to expose your password to that user. The main user page displays a list of users who have transfered karma to you along with their password. The password is not HTML encoded so we can inject HTML into that user's browser. For instance, we could create an account with the following HTML as the password which will result in XSS with that HTML:
This HTML runs script that uses jQuery to post to the transfer URI resulting in a transfer of karma from the attacked user to the attacker user, and also the attacked user's password.
Code review red flags in this case included lack of encoding when using user controlled content to create HTML content, storing passwords in plain text in the database, and displaying passwords generally. By design the web app shows users passwords which is a very bad idea.
def self.safe_insert(table, key_values)
key_values.each do |key, value|
# Just in case people try to exfiltrate
# level07-password-holder's password
if value.kind_of?(String) &&
(value.include?('"') || value.include?("'"))
raise "Value has unsafe characters"
This web app does a much better job than the level 4 app with HTML injection. They use encoding whenever creating HTML using user controlled data, however they don't use encoding when injecting JSON data into script (see post_data initialization above). This JSON data is the last five most recent messages sent on the app so we get to inject script directly. However, the system also ensures that no strings we write contains single or double quotes so we can't get out of the string in the JSON data directly. As it turns out, HTML lets you jump out of a script block using no matter where you are in script. For instance, in the middle of a value in some JSON data we can jump out of script. But we still want to run script, so we can jump right back in. So the frame so far for the message we're going to post is the following:
I was the 546th person to complete Stripe's web security CTF and again had a ton of fun applying my theoretical knowledge of web security issues to the (semi-)real world. As I went through the levels I thought about what red flags jumped out at me (or should have) that I could apply to future code reviews:
|Level||Issue||Code Review Red Flags|
|0||Simple SQL injection||No encoding when constructing SQL command strings. Constructing SQL command strings instead of SQL API|
|1||extract($_GET);||No input validation.|
|2||Arbitrary PHP execution||No input validation. Allow file uploads. File permissions modification.|
|3||Advanced SQL injection||Constructing SQL command strings instead of SQL API.|
|4||HTML injection, XSS and CSRF||No encoding when constructing HTML. No CSRF counter measures. Passwords stored in plain text. Password displayed on site.|
|5||Pingback server doesn't need to opt-in||n/a - By design protocol issue.|
|6||Script injection and XSS||No encoding while constructing script. Deny list (of dangerous characters). Passwords stored in plain text. Password displayed on site.|
|7||Length extension attack||Custom crypto code. Constructing SQL command string instead of SQL API.|
|8||Side channel attack||Password handling code. Timing attack mitigation too clever.|
More about each level in the future.
Stripe is running a web security capture the flag - a series of increasingly difficult web security exploit challenges. I've finished it and had a lot of fun. Working on a web browser I knew the theory of these various web based attacks, but this was my first chance to put theory into practice with:
Here's a blog post on the CTF behind the scenes setup which has many impressive features including phantom users that can be XSS/CSRF'ed.
I'll have another post on my difficulties and answers for the CTF levels after the contest is over on Wed, but if you're looking for hints, try out the CTF chatroom or the level specific CTF chatroom.
First hand account of security researcher reporting security issues to Google and details on the security issues.
Looking at the HTTP traffic of Netflix under Fiddler I could see the HTTP request that added a movie to my queue and didn't see anything obvious that would prevent a CSRF. Sure enough its pretty easy to create a page that, if the user has set Netflix to auto-login, will add movies to the user's queue without their knowledge. I thought this was pretty neat, because I could finally get people to watch Primer. However, when I searched for Netflix CSRF I found that this issue has been known and reported to Netflix since 2006. Again my thoughts stolen from me and the theif doesn't even have the common decency to let me have the thought first!
With this issue known for nearly three years its hard to continue calling it an issue. Really they should just document it in their API docs and be done with it. Who knows what Netflix based web sites and services they'll break if they try to change this behavior? For instance, follow this link to add my Netflix recommended movies to your queue.