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Category:   Application (Generic)  >   AWStats Vendors:
AWStats Input Validation Flaw in 'Referer' Field Lets Remote Users Execute Arbitrary Commands
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1014636
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   CVE-2005-1527   (Links to External Site)
Updated:  Jun 8 2008
Original Entry Date:  Aug 9 2005
Impact:   Execution of arbitrary code via network, User access via network
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  
Version(s): 6.3
Description:   iDEFENSE reported a vulnerability in AWStats. A remote user can execute arbitrary commands.

The software does not properly validate user-suppplied input in the 'url' parameter before using the input in an eval() function call when generating Referer field statistics.

A remote user can supply an HTTP request with a specially crafted Referer field value. Then, when AWStats is run to generate a report, arbitrary Perl code may be executed. The code will run with the privileges of the target web service.

The system is only vulnerable if at least one URLPlugin is enabled.

The vendor was notified on May 15, 2005.

Peter Vreugdenhil discovered this vulnerability.

Impact:   A remote user can execute arbitrary commands on the target system with the privileges of the target web service.
Solution:   The vendor has issued a fixed version (6.4), available at:

Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Input validation error
Underlying OS:  Linux (Any), UNIX (Any), Windows (Any)

Message History:   None.

 Source Message Contents

Subject:  iDEFENSE Security Advisory 08.09.05: AWStats ShowInfoURL Remote

AWStats ShowInfoURL Remote Command Execution Vulnerability 

iDEFENSE Security Advisory 08.09.05
August 09, 2005


AWStats is a free tool that generates web, streaming, ftp or mail 
server statistics, graphically. It can analyze log files from all major 
server tools like Apache log files (NCSA combined/XLF/ELF log format or 
common/CLF log format), WebStar, IIS (W3C log format) and other web, 
proxy, wap, streaming servers, mail servers and some ftp servers. More 
information is available at the vendor's website:


Remote exploitation of an input validation vulnerability in AWStats 
allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary commands.

AWStats is a logfile analysis tool that generates reports for ftp, mail 
and web traffic. The problem specifically exists because of 
insufficient input filtering before passing user-supplied data to an 
eval() function. As part of the statistics reporting function, AWStats 
displays information about the most common referrer values that caused 
users to visit the website. The referrer data is used without proper 
sanitation in an eval() statement, resulting in the execution of 
arbitrary perl code.

Shown as follows, the $url parameter contains unfiltered user-supplied 
data that is used in a call to the Perl routine eval() on lines 4841 
and 4842 of (version 6.4):

     my $function="ShowInfoURL_$pluginname('$url')";

The malicious referrer value will be included in the referrer 
statistics portion of the AWStats report after AWStats has been run to 
generate a new report including the tainted data. Once a user visits 
the referrer statistics page, the injected perl code will execute with 
permissions of the web service.


Successful exploitation results in the execution of arbitrary commands 
with permissions of the web service. Exploitation will not occur until 
the stats page has been regenerated with the tainted referrer values 
from the http access log. Note that AWStats is only vulnerable in 
situations where at least one URLPlugin is enabled.

AWStats is a very commonly used web statistics reporting package. Since 
this attack does not require special privileges, it is recommended that 
users update AWStats to the latest available package.


iDEFENSE Labs has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in 
AWStats 6.3. All earlier versions are suspected vulnerable. AWStats 6.4 
has been released since the initial research on this vulnerability. 
AWStats 6.4 has replaced all eval() statements, and has mitigated the 
exposure to this vulnerability.


As a workaround solution, disable all URLPlugins in the AWStats


This vulnerability has been addressed with the release of AWStats 6.4.

Updated software packages are available from:
   AWStats 6.4: 


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
name CAN-2005-1527 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in
the CVE list (, which standardizes names for
security problems. It should be noted that this is similar to but
different from CAN-2005-0436.


05/12/2005  Initial vendor notification
08/09/2005  Public disclosure


Peter Vreugdenhil (security[at]petervreugdenhil[dot]nl) is credited with
this discovery.

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Copyright (c) 2005 iDEFENSE, Inc.

Permission is granted for the redistribution of this alert
electronically. It may not be edited in any way without the express
written consent of iDEFENSE. If you wish to reprint the whole or any
part of this alert in any other medium other than electronically, please
email for permission.

Disclaimer: The information in the advisory is believed to be accurate
at the time of publishing based on currently available information. Use
of the information constitutes acceptance for use in an AS IS condition.
There are no warranties with regard to this information. Neither the
author nor the publisher accepts any liability for any direct, indirect,
or consequential loss or damage arising from use of, or reliance on,
this information.

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