17 Feb, 2023

XPath Injection

Vulnerability Assessment as a Service (VAaaS)

Tests systems and applications for vulnerabilities to address weaknesses.

The abbreviation for XPath injection vulnerability is “XpI” and the title is “XPath Injection”.

XPath Injection is a type of injection attack that exploits vulnerabilities in an application’s handling of user input that is intended to be used in XPath queries. XPath is a language used to select and filter data in XML documents, and is commonly used in web applications to retrieve information from XML data sources.

An attacker can exploit an XPath Injection vulnerability by submitting specially crafted input that is designed to modify the behavior of the XPath query and retrieve sensitive information from the application’s database. This can result in the disclosure of sensitive data, such as user credentials, personal information, and other sensitive data that is stored in the application’s database.

XPath Injection attacks are typically carried out by inserting malicious code into input fields that are intended to be used in an XPath query. This code can modify the behavior of the query, such as by adding additional conditions that allow the attacker to retrieve sensitive data that would otherwise be protected.

Types of XPath Injections

Several types of XPath Injection attacks that are commonly known, including:

  1. Basic XPath Injection: In this type of attack, an attacker uses a single quote (‘) or double quote (“) to break out of a parameterized query and insert malicious code into the XPath query.

  2. Union-based XPath Injection: In this type of attack, an attacker uses the “union” operator to combine the results of two or more queries. This can be used to retrieve sensitive data from the application’s database.

  3. Error-based XPath Injection: In this type of attack, an attacker exploits an error in the application’s handling of XPath queries to retrieve sensitive data. This can be done by submitting input that is designed to trigger an error in the application’s XPath query.

  4. Blind XPath Injection: In this type of attack, an attacker is unable to see the results of the query, but can still modify the behavior of the query to retrieve sensitive data.

  5. Out-of-Band XPath Injection: In this type of attack, an attacker uses the application to initiate a connection to an external server, which can be used to retrieve sensitive data.

  6. Time-based XPath Injection: In this type of attack, an attacker uses a delay to determine whether a particular condition is true or false. This can be used to retrieve sensitive data from the application’s database.

Examples of different requests that can be used to test for XPath Injection

 Simple GET Request:

				
					GET /search?q=red HTTP/1.1
Host: example.com
				
			

This request queries the “search” endpoint with the “q” parameter set to “red”. An attacker could attempt to inject malicious XPath code into this parameter to manipulate the results of the query.

POST Request with JSON Payload:

				
					POST /api/search HTTP/1.1
Host: example.com
Content-Type: application/json

{
  "query": "//books/book[price>10]"
}
				
			

This request submits a JSON payload to the “search” endpoint. An attacker could attempt to inject malicious XPath code into the “query” parameter to manipulate the results of the query.

POST Request with XML Payload:

				
					POST /api/search HTTP/1.1
Host: example.com
Content-Type: application/xml

<search>
  <query>//books/book[price>10]</query>
</search>
				
			

This request submits an XML payload to the “search” endpoint. An attacker could attempt to inject malicious XPath code into the “query” parameter to manipulate the results of the query.

HTTP Parameter Pollution:

				
					GET /search?q=red&q=green HTTP/1.1
Host: example.com
				
			

This request queries the “search” endpoint with the “q” parameter set to “red” and “green”. An attacker could attempt to inject malicious XPath code into the “q” parameter to manipulate the results of the query.

Cookie-Based Request:

				
					GET /search HTTP/1.1
Host: example.com
Cookie: sessionid=123456; user=alice; search_query=//books/book[price>10]
				
			

This request queries the “search” endpoint with a cookie that sets the “search_query” parameter to an XPath query. An attacker could attempt to inject malicious XPath code into the “search_query” parameter to manipulate the results of the query.

Important to have a deep understanding of XPath and web application security in order to properly identify and mitigate these types of attacks.

Examples of XPath Injection exploitation

Extracting Sensitive Information:

If the target application returns different responses for valid and invalid XPath expressions, an attacker can use Burp Suite to identify which expressions are valid and use them to extract sensitive information. For example, the attacker could send a request with a parameter like this:

				
					POST /search HTTP/1.1
Host: example.com
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Content-Length: 40

searchTerm=John&category=' or 1=1 or 'a'='a
				
			

If the application returns a different response for the injected expression, the attacker can use this to extract sensitive information. For example, the attacker could try to extract the administrator’s password with an XPath expression like this:

				
					POST /search HTTP/1.1
Host: example.com
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Content-Length: 89

searchTerm=John&category=' or 1=1 or password[contains(.,'password')] or ''
				
			

If the application returns the administrator’s password, the attacker has successfully exploited the XPath Injection vulnerability.

Modifying Data:

If the target application allows the attacker to submit data that is then used in an XPath query, the attacker can use Burp Suite to modify the query and modify the data. For example, the attacker could send a request to update a user’s email address like this:

				
					POST /updateUser HTTP/1.1
Host: example.com
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Content-Length: 51

userId=123&newEmail=test@example.com&password=pass123
				
			

If the application uses the password parameter in an XPath query, the attacker can modify the query to bypass the authentication check and update the email address. For example, the attacker could send a request like this:

				
					POST /updateUser HTTP/1.1
Host: example.com
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Content-Length: 84

userId=123&newEmail=test@example.com&password=' or 1=1 or //user[id=123]/email='attacker@example.com' or ''
				
			

This would update the email address of the user with the ID 123 to “[email protected]“.

Denial of Service:

If the target application does not properly validate user input before using it in an XPath query, an attacker can use Burp Suite to send a malformed request that causes the application to crash or become unresponsive. For example, the attacker could send a request like this:

				
					POST /search HTTP/1.1
Host: example.com
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Content-Length: 36

searchTerm=' or 1=1 or //*[1=1][1=1] or ''
				
			

This query is intentionally malformed and could cause the application to crash or become unresponsive, resulting in a denial of service.

Privilege escalation techniques XPath Injections

Privilege escalation techniques for XPath injection involve exploiting the vulnerability to gain increased access and control over the targeted system or application.

Here are a few examples of privilege escalation techniques for XPath injections:

1. Tampering with User Roles and Permissions:

In some applications, user roles and permissions are stored in a database and accessed through XPath queries. If an XPath Injection vulnerability exists, an attacker can modify these queries to escalate their own privileges. For example, an attacker can inject an XPath query that modifies their user role to grant them additional privileges, such as administrator-level access.

2. Modifying Access Control Lists (ACLs):

Access Control Lists (ACLs) are used in many applications to restrict access to resources based on user roles and permissions. If an application uses XPath queries to check ACLs, an attacker can inject malicious code to modify these queries and gain access to restricted resources. For example, an attacker can inject an XPath query that grants them access to sensitive files or directories.

3. Bypassing Authentication and Authorization:

If an application uses XPath queries to check user credentials or permissions, an attacker can inject malicious code to bypass these checks and gain access to restricted resources. For example, an attacker can inject an XPath query that bypasses authentication and grants them access to an administrative panel or other restricted areas.

4. Injecting Malicious Code:

An XPath Injection vulnerability can also be used to inject malicious code into an application or system. This can be used to gain control over the system or steal sensitive information. For example, an attacker can inject an XPath query that runs a malicious script to download and install malware on the targeted system.

5. Accessing System Resources:

In some cases, an XPath Injection vulnerability can be used to gain access to system resources that are normally restricted. For example, an attacker can inject an XPath query that retrieves passwords or other sensitive information stored in a system file.

General methodology and checklist for testing XPath Injections

1. Identify areas where XPath queries are used:

The first step is to identify areas where XPath queries are used in the application, such as search boxes, filters, and other input fields.

2. Verify that input validation and sanitization are in place:

Check whether the application is validating and sanitizing user input to prevent malicious code injection. If validation and sanitization are not present, the application is likely vulnerable to XPath injection.

3. Identify the type of XPath injection vulnerability:

XPath injection vulnerabilities can be of different types, such as boolean-based, error-based, and time-based. Identifying the type of vulnerability can help in selecting the appropriate testing methodology.

4. Test for Boolean-based XPath injection:

Boolean-based XPath injection is a common type of vulnerability, which involves injecting boolean operators such as “and” and “or” to manipulate the results of an XPath query. Test for this vulnerability by injecting boolean operators into the query and observing changes in the application’s response.

5. Test for Error-based XPath injection:

Error-based XPath injection involves injecting code that causes an error in the query. This type of vulnerability can be identified by observing error messages or other unexpected behavior in the application’s response.

6. Test for Time-based XPath injection:

Time-based XPath injection involves injecting code that causes the application to delay its response. This type of vulnerability can be identified by observing delays in the application’s response.

7. Test for Blind XPath injection:

Blind XPath injection occurs when the application does not provide any feedback to the attacker regarding the success or failure of the attack. This type of vulnerability can be identified by observing changes in the application’s behavior, such as changes in the response time.

8. Test for input validation bypass:

In some cases, an application may validate user input but may not properly sanitize it before passing it to the XPath query. This can be exploited by bypassing the validation and injecting malicious code into the query.

9. Test for privilege escalation:

Once an XPath injection vulnerability is identified, test for privilege escalation by attempting to escalate privileges and gain access to sensitive information or functionality.

10. Document findings and report to the development team:

Document all findings and report them to the development team, including recommendations for fixing the vulnerabilities. Make sure to provide clear and detailed descriptions of the vulnerabilities, along with proof of concept code and steps to reproduce the vulnerability.

By following these methodologies and checklists, you can identify and exploit XPath injection vulnerabilities in web applications, helping to improve their security and prevent attackers from gaining unauthorized access.

Tools set for exploiting XPath Injection

Manual tools:

  1. Burp Suite: Burp Suite is a popular web application testing tool that can be used to test for XPath injection vulnerabilities. It includes a proxy, scanner, and various other tools for testing web applications.

  2. Postman: Postman is a powerful tool for testing web APIs, and it can be used to manually test for XPath injection vulnerabilities in web applications.

  3. OWASP ZAP: OWASP ZAP is a free and open-source web application testing tool that can be used to manually test for XPath injection vulnerabilities.

  4. Selenium IDE: Selenium IDE is a browser extension that can be used to automate the testing of web applications, including testing for XPath injection vulnerabilities.

  5. Fiddler: Fiddler is a free web debugging proxy that can be used to manually test for XPath injection vulnerabilities in web applications.

  6. Chrome Developer Tools: Chrome Developer Tools is a built-in feature of the Chrome browser that can be used to manually test for XPath injection vulnerabilities.

  7. Firefox Developer Tools: Firefox Developer Tools is a built-in feature of the Firefox browser that can be used to manually test for XPath injection vulnerabilities.

  8. Charles Proxy: Charles Proxy is a web debugging proxy that can be used to manually test for XPath injection vulnerabilities in web applications.

Automated tools:

  1. sqlmap: sqlmap is an automated tool for testing SQL injection vulnerabilities, but it can also be used to test for XPath injection vulnerabilities.

  2. AppSpider: AppSpider is an automated web application testing tool that can be used to test for XPath injection vulnerabilities.

  3. Netsparker: Netsparker is an automated web application security scanner that can be used to test for XPath injection vulnerabilities.

  4. Acunetix: Acunetix is an automated web application security scanner that can be used to test for XPath injection vulnerabilities.

  5. Arachni: Arachni is an open-source web application security scanner that can be used to test for XPath injection vulnerabilities.

  6. Wapiti: Wapiti is an open-source web application security scanner that can be used to test for XPath injection vulnerabilities.

  7. Vega: Vega is an open-source web application security testing platform that can be used to test for XPath injection vulnerabilities.

  8. Nikto: Nikto is an open-source web server scanner that can be used to test for XPath injection vulnerabilities.

  9. Grendel-Scan: Grendel-Scan is an open-source web application security scanner that can be used to test for XPath injection vulnerabilities.

  10. Skipfish: Skipfish is an open-source web application security scanner that can be used to test for XPath injection vulnerabilities.

Browser plugins and testing frameworks:

  1. XPath Checker: XPath Checker is a Firefox browser plugin that can be used to manually test for XPath injection vulnerabilities.

  2. Selenium WebDriver: Selenium WebDriver is a browser automation framework that can be used to automate the testing of web applications, including testing for XPath injection vulnerabilities.

Automated Tools:

1. Nessus – Nessus is a widely used vulnerability scanner that can help identify potential security misconfigurations and vulnerabilities.

2. OpenVAS – OpenVAS is an open source vulnerability scanner that can identify potential security misconfigurations and vulnerabilities in a network.

3. Nmap – Nmap is a network scanning tool that can help identify open ports and services on a target system.

4. Metasploit – Metasploit is a penetration testing framework that can be used to identify and exploit security misconfigurations and vulnerabilities.

5. Burp Suite – Burp Suite is a popular web application security testing tool that can be used to identify and exploit security misconfigurations and vulnerabilities.

6. OWASP ZAP – OWASP ZAP is a web application security scanner that can identify potential security misconfigurations and vulnerabilities.

7. SQLMap – SQLMap is an automated SQL injection tool that can be used to identify and exploit potential security misconfigurations and vulnerabilities in web applications.

8. Hydra – Hydra is a network password cracking tool that can help identify weak or default passwords in network services.

Manual Tools:

1. Telnet – Telnet is a network protocol that can be used to remotely access and control a target system. It can be used to identify potential security misconfigurations and vulnerabilities.

2. Netcat – Netcat is a network tool that can be used for port scanning, remote access, and other network-related tasks. It can be used to identify potential security misconfigurations and vulnerabilities.

3. Wireshark – Wireshark is a network packet analyzer that can be used to capture and analyze network traffic. It can be used to identify potential security misconfigurations and vulnerabilities.

4. Sqlmap – SQLMap is an automated SQL injection tool that can be used to identify and exploit potential security misconfigurations and vulnerabilities in web applications.

5. Metasploit – Metasploit is a penetration testing framework that can be used to identify and exploit security misconfigurations and vulnerabilities.

6. PowerShell – PowerShell is a scripting language that can be used to automate tasks and perform various administrative functions. It can be used to identify and exploit potential security misconfigurations and vulnerabilities.

7. Unix/Linux command-line tools – Various command-line tools, such as “grep”, “awk”, and “sed” can be used to identify potential security misconfigurations and vulnerabilities in Unix/Linux systems.

8. Windows command-line tools – Various command-line tools, such as “netstat”, “tasklist”, and “ipconfig” can be used to identify potential security misconfigurations and vulnerabilities in Windows systems.

Browser Plugins:

1. Firefox Security Toolkit – Firefox Security Toolkit is a collection of browser add-ons that can be used to enhance the security of Firefox. It includes add-ons for vulnerability scanning, password management, and other security-related tasks.

2. Chrome Developer Tools – Chrome Developer Tools is a built-in set of tools that can be used to debug and troubleshoot web applications. It can be used to identify and exploit potential security misconfigurations and vulnerabilities.

3. OWASP ZAP – OWASP ZAP is a web application security scanner that can be used as a browser plugin. It can identify potential security misconfigurations and vulnerabilities in web applications.

4. Acunetix – Acunetix is a web application security scanner that offers a browser plugin for identifying potential security misconfigurations and vulnerabilities.

Testing Frameworks:

1. OWASP Testing Guide – The OWASP Testing Guide is a comprehensive testing framework that includes a variety of tools and techniques for identifying potential security misconfigurations and vulnerabilities.

2. MITRE ATT&CK – MITRE ATT&CK is a knowledge base of tactics and techniques used by threat actors. It includes various techniques for identifying and exploiting security misconfigurations and vulnerabilities.

3. NIST SP 800-115 – NIST SP 800-115 is a guide to information security testing and assessment that includes a framework for identifying potential security misconfigurations and vulnerabilities.

4. PTES – The Penetration Testing Execution Standard (PTES) is a comprehensive testing framework that includes a variety of tools and techniques for identifying potential security misconfigurations and vulnerabilities.

5. OSSTMM – The Open Source Security Testing Methodology Manual (OSSTMM) is a testing framework that includes a variety of tools and techniques for identifying potential security misconfigurations and vulnerabilities.

Average CVSS score of XPath Injection

The Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) is a framework for assessing the severity of security vulnerabilities. It provides a standard way to measure the impact of a vulnerability on a system, based on various factors such as the likelihood of exploitability, the potential damage to the system, and the level of user interaction required.

The average CVSS score for an XPath Injection vulnerability can vary widely depending on a number of factors, including the complexity of the XPath query, the amount of data that can be accessed or modified by the attacker, and the overall security posture of the application.

In general, however, XPath Injection vulnerabilities are considered to be high-severity vulnerabilities due to their potential impact on the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the application and its data. The average CVSS score for XPath Injection vulnerabilities is typically in the range of 7.0 to 9.0, which corresponds to a “high” or “critical” severity rating.

The Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) for XPath Injection

  1. CWE-89: Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an SQL Command (‘SQL Injection’) Description: This weakness refers to SQL Injection vulnerabilities, which are similar to XPath Injection vulnerabilities in that an attacker can inject malicious code into a query. The weakness arises when input is not properly sanitized or validated, allowing an attacker to manipulate the SQL query to execute arbitrary commands on the database.

  2. CWE-91: XML Injection (aka Blind XPath Injection) Description: This weakness refers to XML Injection vulnerabilities, which are similar to XPath Injection vulnerabilities in that an attacker can inject malicious code into an XML document. The weakness arises when input is not properly sanitized or validated, allowing an attacker to manipulate the XML document to execute arbitrary commands on the server.

  3. CWE-115: Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an XPath Expression (‘XPath Injection’) Description: This weakness specifically refers to XPath Injection vulnerabilities, where input is not properly sanitized or validated, allowing an attacker to manipulate the XPath query to execute arbitrary commands on the server.

  4. CWE-639: Authorization Bypass Through User-Controlled Key Description: This weakness refers to situations where an attacker can bypass authorization controls by manipulating user-controlled data, such as a session token or other authentication key. In the context of XPath Injection, an attacker may be able to bypass access controls by manipulating the XPath query to retrieve or modify unauthorized data.

  5. CWE-862: Missing Authorization Description: This weakness refers to situations where an application fails to properly enforce authorization controls, allowing an attacker to access data or functionality that should be restricted. In the context of XPath Injection, an attacker may be able to bypass access controls by manipulating the XPath query to retrieve or modify unauthorized data.

  6. CWE-863: Incorrect Authorization Description: This weakness refers to situations where an application improperly enforces authorization controls, allowing an attacker to access data or functionality that should be restricted. In the context of XPath Injection, an attacker may be able to bypass access controls by manipulating the XPath query to retrieve or modify unauthorized data.

  7. CWE-937: OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 – Broken Access Control Description: This weakness refers to situations where an application fails to properly enforce access controls, allowing an attacker to access data or functionality that should be restricted. In the context of XPath Injection, an attacker may be able to bypass access controls by manipulating the XPath query to retrieve or modify unauthorized data.

  8. CWE-943: Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Data Query Logic Description: This weakness refers to situations where input is not properly sanitized or validated before being used in data query logic, allowing an attacker to manipulate the query to execute arbitrary commands on the server. In the context of XPath Injection, an attacker may be able to manipulate the XPath query to retrieve or modify unauthorized data.

  9. CWE-1168: Improper Access Control Description: This weakness refers to situations where an application fails to properly enforce access controls, allowing an attacker to access data or functionality that should be restricted. In the context of XPath Injection, an attacker may be able to bypass access controls by manipulating the XPath query to retrieve or modify unauthorized data.

  10. CWE-1177: Use of Externally-Controlled Format String Description: This weakness refers to situations where an application uses an externally controlled format string to generate output, allowing an attacker to execute arbitrary commands on the server. In the context of XPath Injection, an attacker may be able to manipulate the format string used in the XPath query to execute arbitrary commands on the server.

  11. CWE-119: Improper Restriction of Operations within the Bounds of a Memory Buffer Description: This weakness refers to situations where an application fails to properly validate or sanitize input, allowing an attacker to overwrite memory beyond the bounds of a buffer. In the context of XPath Injection, an attacker may be able to inject a malicious input string that causes a buffer overflow, potentially allowing them to execute arbitrary code on the server.

  12. CWE-134: Use of Externally-Controlled Format String Description: This weakness refers to situations where an application uses an externally controlled format string to generate output, allowing an attacker to execute arbitrary commands on the server. In the context of XPath Injection, an attacker may be able to manipulate the format string used in the XPath query to execute arbitrary commands on the server.

  13. CWE-209: Generation of Error Message Containing Sensitive Information Description: This weakness refers to situations where an application generates an error message that contains sensitive information, such as a stack trace or database connection string. In the context of XPath Injection, an attacker may be able to inject a malicious input string that causes an error message to be generated, potentially revealing sensitive information.

  14. CWE-212: Improper Cross-boundary Removal of Sensitive Data Description: This weakness refers to situations where an application fails to properly remove or sanitize sensitive data before passing it between different security domains, such as between a client and server. In the context of XPath Injection, an attacker may be able to inject a malicious input string that causes sensitive data to be passed between different security domains, potentially allowing the attacker to access or modify unauthorized data.

  15. CWE-306: Missing Authentication for Critical Function Description: This weakness refers to situations where an application fails to require authentication before allowing a critical function to be performed, such as modifying or deleting data. In the context of XPath Injection, an attacker may be able to bypass authentication controls by manipulating the XPath query to retrieve or modify unauthorized data.

  16. CWE-327: Use of a Broken or Risky Cryptographic Algorithm Description: This weakness refers to situations where an application uses a cryptographic algorithm that is known to be weak or vulnerable to attack. In the context of XPath Injection, an attacker may be able to manipulate the cryptographic algorithm used in the XPath query to execute arbitrary commands on the server.

  17. CWE-434: Unrestricted Upload of File with Dangerous Type Description: This weakness refers to situations where an application allows a user to upload a file with a dangerous or unexpected file type, such as an executable file. In the context of XPath Injection, an attacker may be able to upload a malicious file that is then executed by the server, potentially allowing them to execute arbitrary code on the server.

  18. CWE-522: Insufficiently Protected Credentials Description: This weakness refers to situations where an application fails to properly protect user credentials, such as passwords or session tokens. In the context of XPath Injection, an attacker may be able to manipulate the XPath query to retrieve or modify user credentials, potentially allowing them to gain unauthorized access to the system.

  19. CWE-526: Information Exposure Through Environmental Variables Description: This weakness refers to situations where an application exposes sensitive information through environmental variables, such as server logs or error messages. In the context of XPath Injection, an attacker may be able to inject a malicious input string that causes an error message to be generated, potentially revealing sensitive information.

  20. CWE-613: Insufficient Session Expiration Description: This weakness refers to situations where an application fails to properly expire user sessions, potentially allowing an attacker to use a stolen session token to gain unauthorized access to the system. In the context of XPath Injection, an attacker may be able to inject a malicious input string that causes a session token to be stolen or compromised.

Latests 10 CVEs related to XPath Injection

CVE-2022-46464 – ConcreteCMS v9.1.3 was discovered to be vulnerable to Xpath injection attacks. This vulnerability allows attackers to access sensitive XML data via a crafted payload injected into the URL path folder “3”.

CVE-2022-22244 – An XPath Injection vulnerability in the J-Web component of Juniper Networks Junos OS allows an unauthenticated attacker sending a crafted POST to reach the XPath channel, which may allow chaining to other unspecified vulnerabilities, leading to a partial loss of confidentiality. This issue affects Juniper Networks Junos OS: all versions prior to 19.1R3-S9; 19.2 versions prior to 19.2R3-S6; 19.3 versions prior to 19.3R3-S7; 19.4 versions prior to 19.4R3-S9; 20.1 versions prior to 20.1R3-S5; 20.2 versions prior to 20.2R3-S5; 20.3 versions prior to 20.3R3-S5; 20.4 versions prior to 20.4R3-S4; 21.1 versions prior to 21.1R3-S3; 21.2 versions prior to 21.2R3-S1; 21.3 versions prior to 21.3R3; 21.4 versions prior to 21.4R1-S2, 21.4R2; 22.1 versions prior to 22.1R1-S1, 22.1R2.

CVE-2022-22243 – An XPath Injection vulnerability due to Improper Input Validation in the J-Web component of Juniper Networks Junos OS allows an authenticated attacker to add an XPath command to the XPath stream, which may allow chaining to other unspecified vulnerabilities, leading to a partial loss of confidentiality. This issue affects Juniper Networks Junos OS: all versions prior to 19.1R3-S9; 19.2 versions prior to 19.2R3-S6; 19.3 versions prior to 19.3R3-S7; 19.4 versions prior to 19.4R2-S7, 19.4R3-S8; 20.1 versions prior to 20.1R3-S5; 20.2 versions prior to 20.2R3-S5; 20.3 versions prior to 20.3R3-S5; 20.4 versions prior to 20.4R3-S4; 21.1 versions prior to 21.1R3-S2; 21.2 versions prior to 21.2R3-S1; 21.3 versions prior to 21.3R2-S2, 21.3R3; 21.4 versions prior to 21.4R1-S2, 21.4R2-S1, 21.4R3; 22.1 versions prior to 22.1R1-S1, 22.1R2.

CVE-2021-43822 – Jackalope Doctrine-DBAL is an implementation of the PHP Content Repository API (PHPCR) using a relational database to persist data. In affected versions users can provoke SQL injections if they can specify a node name or query. Upgrade to version 1.7.4 to resolve this issue. If that is not possible, you can escape all places where `$property` is used to filter `sv:name` in the class `Jackalope\Transport\DoctrineDBAL\Query\QOMWalker`: `XPath::escape($property)`. Node names and xpaths can contain `”` or `;` according to the JCR specification. The jackalope component that translates the query object model into doctrine dbal queries does not properly escape the names and paths, so that a accordingly crafted node name can lead to an SQL injection. If queries are never done from user input, or if you validate the user input to not contain `;`, you are not affected.

CVE-2020-25162 – A XPath injection vulnerability in the B. Braun Melsungen AG SpaceCom Version L81/U61 and earlier, and the Data module compactplus Versions A10 and A11 allows unauthenticated remote attackers to access sensitive information and escalate privileges.

CVE-2019-8158 – An XPath entity injection vulnerability exists in Magento 2.2 prior to 2.2.10, Magento 2.3 prior to 2.3.3 or 2.3.2-p1. An attacker can craft a GET request to page cache block rendering module that gets passed to XML data processing engine without validation. The crafted key/value GET request data allows an attacker to limited access to underlying XML data.

CVE-2019-0370 – Due to missing input validation, SAP Financial Consolidation, before versions 10.0 and 10.1, enables an attacker to use crafted input to interfere with the structure of the surrounding query leading to XPath Injection.

CVE-2016-9149 – The Addresses Object parser in Palo Alto Networks PAN-OS before 5.0.20, 5.1.x before 5.1.13, 6.0.x before 6.0.15, 6.1.x before 6.1.15, 7.0.x before 7.0.11, and 7.1.x before 7.1.6 mishandles single quote characters, which allows remote authenticated users to conduct XPath injection attacks via a crafted string.

CVE-2016-6272 – XPath injection vulnerability in Epic MyChart allows remote attackers to access contents of an XML document containing static display strings, such as field labels, via the topic parameter to help.asp. NOTE: this was originally reported as a SQL injection vulnerability, but this may be inaccurate.

CVE-2015-6011 – Web Reference Database (aka refbase) through 0.9.6 and bleeding-edge before 2015-01-08 allows remote attackers to conduct XML injection attacks via (1) the id parameter to unapi.php or (2) the stylesheet parameter to sru.php.

The list of CVEs is constantly being updated and full an up-to-date list of all existed Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) for HTTP Request Smuggling vulnerabilities can be found at official CVE website https://cve.mitre.org/

List of popular exploits related to XPath Injection

XPath injection vulnerabilities can lead to a wide range of exploits, some of which are more common than others.

Here is a list of popular exploits related to XPath Injections.

  1. Data Extraction: XPath injection vulnerabilities can allow an attacker to extract sensitive data from a vulnerable application. By injecting malicious XPath queries, an attacker can retrieve data that they should not have access to. This can include information such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, and other confidential information.

  2. Authentication Bypass: An XPath injection vulnerability can allow an attacker to bypass authentication mechanisms, granting them access to sensitive areas of the application. By crafting a malicious XPath query that circumvents login checks, an attacker can access protected resources without proper credentials.

  3. Command Execution: An XPath injection vulnerability can allow an attacker to execute arbitrary commands on the server. By crafting a malicious XPath query that includes commands, an attacker can execute code on the server and potentially gain control of the system.

  4. Denial of Service: An XPath injection vulnerability can allow an attacker to launch a denial-of-service attack against the vulnerable application. By crafting a malicious XPath query that causes the application to consume excessive resources, an attacker can cause the application to crash or become unresponsive.

  5. Remote Code Execution: An XPath injection vulnerability can allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code on the server, potentially leading to full remote code execution. By crafting a malicious XPath query that includes code, an attacker can gain complete control over the server and all its resources.

  6. Privilege Escalation: An XPath injection vulnerability can allow an attacker to escalate their privileges within the application. By crafting a malicious XPath query that manipulates access controls or other security mechanisms, an attacker can gain elevated privileges and access sensitive resources.

  7. Database Access: An XPath injection vulnerability can allow an attacker to access the underlying database of the application. By crafting a malicious XPath query that retrieves data from the database, an attacker can access sensitive information that is stored there.

  8. Cross-Site Scripting: An XPath injection vulnerability can allow an attacker to inject malicious code into the application, potentially leading to cross-site scripting attacks. By crafting a malicious XPath query that includes script tags, an attacker can inject code that executes in the context of other users, potentially leading to the theft of credentials or other sensitive information.

  9. Cross-Site Request Forgery: An XPath injection vulnerability can allow an attacker to launch cross-site request forgery attacks against the application. By crafting a malicious XPath query that includes requests to other sites, an attacker can trick users into unwittingly performing actions that they did not intend to, potentially leading to unauthorized access or other malicious activities.

  10. File Upload/Download: An XPath injection vulnerability can allow an attacker to upload or download files from the vulnerable application. By crafting a malicious XPath query that includes requests to upload or download files, an attacker can access sensitive information or upload malicious code that can be executed on the server.

Practice identifying and exploiting XPath Injection

  1. Read about XPath and how it works: Before diving into XPath injection, it’s important to have a good understanding of what XPath is and how it works. This will help you to better understand the vulnerabilities and how to exploit them.

  2. Study common XPath injection attack vectors: Once you have a good understanding of XPath, you can start studying common XPath injection attack vectors. This will help you to identify vulnerabilities in applications and develop effective exploitation techniques.

  3. Use testing tools: There are a number of testing tools that can help you to identify and exploit XPath injection vulnerabilities. Some popular tools include Burp Suite, OWASP ZAP, and SQLMap. These tools can help you to automate the testing process and identify vulnerabilities more quickly.

  4. Practice on vulnerable applications: There are a number of vulnerable applications available that are designed specifically for practicing XPath injection. These applications can help you to develop your skills and gain hands-on experience with exploitation techniques.

  5. Read about real-world exploits: Reading about real-world exploits can help you to understand how attackers have successfully exploited XPath injection vulnerabilities in the past. This can provide valuable insights into how to identify and mitigate these vulnerabilities.

  6. Attend training or certification courses: There are a number of training and certification courses available that focus on XPath injection and other web application security topics. These courses can provide you with more in-depth knowledge and skills that can help you to become a more effective security professional.

The key to mastering XPath injection is practice and persistence. By studying the technology, developing your skills, and putting your knowledge into practice, you can become an expert in identifying and exploiting XPath injection vulnerabilities.

Books with review of XPath Injection

Here are some popular books on XPath injection that you may find helpful:

  1. “Web Application Security: A Beginner’s Guide” by Bryan Sullivan and Vincent Liu – This book covers the basics of web application security, including XPath injection vulnerabilities and how to prevent them. It is a good starting point for beginners.

  2. “The Web Application Hacker’s Handbook: Finding and Exploiting Security Flaws” by Dafydd Stuttard and Marcus Pinto – This book is a comprehensive guide to web application security and covers a range of vulnerabilities, including XPath injection. It is a popular reference for security professionals.

  3. “Hacking Exposed Web Applications: Web Application Security Secrets and Solutions” by Joel Scambray, Mike Shema, and Caleb Sima – This book covers a wide range of web application vulnerabilities, including XPath injection, and provides practical guidance on how to identify and exploit them.

  4. “The Tangled Web: A Guide to Securing Modern Web Applications” by Michal Zalewski – This book covers a range of web application vulnerabilities, including XPath injection, and provides in-depth technical insights into how these vulnerabilities work.

  5. “Mastering Modern Web Penetration Testing” by Prakhar Prasad – This book covers modern web application security, including XPath injection, and provides practical guidance on how to identify and exploit vulnerabilities. It also covers advanced exploitation techniques.

All of these books are highly regarded in the web application security community and can provide valuable insights and guidance for those looking to learn about XPath injection and other web application vulnerabilities.

List of payloads for XPath Injection

Here are some common payloads for XPath injection:

  1. Single quote (‘) – This is the most common payload for testing for XPath injection. It is used to test if the application is vulnerable to basic SQL injection.

  2. Double quote (“) – This is another common payload used to test for XPath injection. It is used to test if the application is vulnerable to double quotes in XPath expressions.

  3. Boolean-based payloads – These payloads are used to test if the application is vulnerable to Boolean-based injection. Examples include ‘or 1=1’ or ‘and 1=2’.

  4. Error-based payloads – These payloads are used to test if the application is vulnerable to error-based injection. Examples include ‘div by zero’ or ‘invalid number’.

  5. Union-based payloads – These payloads are used to test if the application is vulnerable to union-based injection. Examples include ‘union all select 1,2,3’ or ‘order by 1’.

  6. Out-of-band payloads – These payloads are used to test if the application is vulnerable to out-of-band injection. Examples include sending data to an external server using the ‘document’ function or using a ‘data:’ URL.

  7. XPath function payloads – These payloads are used to test if the application is vulnerable to XPath function injection. Examples include using the ‘concat()’ function or the ‘substring()’ function.

  8. XML payloads – These payloads are used to test if the application is vulnerable to XML injection. Examples include injecting an XML element or attribute.

These are just a few examples of the many different payloads that can be used for testing XPath injection vulnerabilities. It’s important to customize your payloads based on the specific context and application being tested.

Mitigation and how to be protected from XPath Injection

Mitigation techniques that can be used to protect against XPath injection vulnerabilities:

  1. Input validation and sanitization – Ensure that all user input is properly validated and sanitized before it is used in XPath expressions. This can include techniques such as input length validation, input type validation, and input format validation.

  2. Parameterized queries – Use parameterized queries when building XPath expressions to prevent injection attacks. This involves using placeholders for user input and then binding the input to the placeholders when the query is executed.

  3. Least privilege – Ensure that the XPath expressions used in the application have the least privilege possible. This can help limit the impact of any potential injection attacks.

  4. Error handling – Implement proper error handling to prevent detailed error messages from being returned to attackers. These messages can contain valuable information that can be used to launch further attacks.

  5. Web application firewall (WAF) – Implement a WAF to provide an additional layer of protection against XPath injection attacks. WAFs can help detect and block known attack patterns.

  6. Regular security testing – Regularly perform security testing on your applications to identify and address any potential vulnerabilities, including XPath injection.

By implementing these mitigation techniques, organizations can significantly reduce their risk of XPath injection attacks. It’s important to ensure that these techniques are implemented properly and kept up to date as new vulnerabilities are discovered.

Conclusion

XPath injection is a web application vulnerability that can allow attackers to execute arbitrary code and gain unauthorized access to sensitive information. It can be caused by improper input validation and sanitization, and can be mitigated through various measures such as input validation, parameterized queries, and least privilege. To remain secure, organizations must remain vigilant in their security efforts and keep up-to-date with the latest techniques and tools used to test and exploit XPath injection vulnerabilities.

Other Services

Ready to secure?

Let's get in touch