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Category:   Application (Generic)  >   IBM Cognos Vendors:   IBM
IBM Cognos Input Validation Flaw in 'cognos.cgi' Permits Cross-Site Scripting Attacks
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1024954
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   CVE-2011-0486   (Links to External Site)
Updated:  Jan 19 2011
Original Entry Date:  Jan 12 2011
Impact:   Disclosure of authentication information, Disclosure of user information, Execution of arbitrary code via network, Modification of user information
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  
Version(s): 8.4.1; possibly prior versions
Description:   A vulnerability was reported in IBM Cognos. A remote user can conduct cross-site scripting attacks.

The software 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 IBM Cognos 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.

The pathinfo parameter of 'cognos.cgi' is affected.

The vendor was notified on October 9, 2010.

Ferenc Spala and Tamas Czigany reported this vulnerability.

Impact:   A remote user can access the target user's cookies (including authentication cookies), if any, associated with the site running the IBM Cognos 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.
Solution:   The vendor has issued a fix (8.4.1 FP1).
Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Input validation error
Underlying OS:  Windows (2003)

Message History:   None.

 Source Message Contents

Subject:  SECURITY ADVISORY IBM Cognos 8 Business Intelligence 8.4.1

1.	Affected software
IBM Cognos 8 Business Intelligence 8.4.1

Prior versions may also be affected.

"IBM Cognos 8 Business Intelligence delivers the complete range of BI
capabilities: Reporting, Analysis, Dashboarding and Scorecards on a =
service-oriented architecture (SOA). Author, share and use reports that =
on data across all enterprise sources for better business decisions."

Product link:

2.	Vulnerability Information
Class: Cross site scripting
Impact: Session hijacking
Rating: Less critical
Remotely Exploitable: Yes
Locally Exploitable: No
Bugtraq ID: N/A
CVE Name: N/A

3.	Description of Vulnerability
3.1.1.	Reflective XSS=20
In the pathinfo parameter of the cognos.cgi can be malformed and an =
is able to inject Javascript code.
With this vulnerability in hand and attacker can inject any Javascript =
he wants. In this way he can perform a session hijacking attack by =
the malformed URL to the victim.

4.	Solution
The official solution is:=20
Since then there have been two fix packs released - Cognos 8 BI 8.4.1 =
and Cognos 8 BI 8.4.1 FP2. Testing of the IBM engineers show that the =
we identified is fixed in both of these fix packs.

5.	Workaround
Workarounds for this kind of vulnerabilities can be implemented through =
Web Application Firewall, for example ModSecurity with the Core Rule Set
When using ModSecurity make sure you have enabled XSS protection rules.
The session encryption features of suhosin PHP extension can make =
hijacking attacks harder as well.

6.	Timeline
01/10/2010 - Vulnerabilities discovered
09/10/2010 - First attempt to contact vendor
12/01/2011 - Public disclosure

7.	Credits
These vulnerabilities were discovered by Ferenc Spala and Tam=E1s =
(Tamas Czigany).

8.	About us
SecurityAngel is the vulnerability research lab of is Hungary's market leading information security private
limited company. The company offers full scope information security =
to its customers, performs audits, delivers end-to-end security systems,
tools, and solutions. Since its foundation in 2002, its revenues have
increased by more than tenfold. According to the survey conducted by
Deloitte, was one of the 50 most dynamically developing =
European companies for two years in a row in 2008 and 2009, and one of =
500 most quickly growing companies in the EMEA region.

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

The product names used in this document are for identification purposes
only. All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their
respective owners.

Spala Ferenc
Information security consultant


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