The Weather Channel at Least 76.3% Links Vulnerable to XSS Attacks




The Weather Channel at Least 76.3% Links Vulnerable to XSS Attacks



Domain Description:


“The Weather Channel is an American basic cable and satellite television channel which broadcasts weather forecasts and weather-related news and analyses, along with documentaries and entertainment programming related to weather. Launched on May 2, 1982, the channel broadcasts weather forecasts and weather-related news and analysis, along with documentaries and entertainment programming related to weather.”


“As of February 2015, The Weather Channel was received by approximately 97.3 million American households that subscribe to a pay television service (83.6% of U.S. households with at least one television set), which gave it the highest national distribution of any U.S. cable channel. However, it was subsequently dropped by Verizon FiOS (losing its approximately 5.5 millions subscribers), giving the title of most distributed network to HLN. Actual viewership of the channel averaged 210,000 during 2013 and has been declining for several years. Content from The Weather Channel is available for purchase from the NBCUniversal Archives.” (Wikipedia)





Vulnerability description:

The Weather Channel has a cyber security problem. Hacker can exploit it by XSS bugs.


Almost all links under the domain are vulnerable to XSS attacks. Attackers just need to add script at the end of The Weather Channel’s URLs. Then the scripts will be executed.


10 thousands of Links were tested based a self-written tool. During the tests, 76.3% of links belong to were vulnerable to XSS attacks.


The reason of this vulnerability is that Weather Channel uses URLs to construct its HTML tags without filtering malicious script codes.


The vulnerability can be attacked without user login. Tests were performed on Firefox (34.0) in Ubuntu (14.04) and IE (9.0.15) in Windows 8.










POC Codes, e.g.“–/>”><img src=x onerror=prompt(‘justqdjing’)>–/“–/>”><img src=x onerror=prompt(‘justqdjing’)>t%28%27justqdjing%27%29%3E“><img src=x onerror=prompt(‘justqdjing’)>



The Weather Channel has patched this Vulnerability in late November, 2014 (last Week). “The Full Disclosure mailing list is a public forum for detailed discussion of vulnerabilities and exploitation techniques, as well as tools, papers, news, and events of interest to the community. FD differs from other security lists in its open nature and support for researchers’ right to decide how to disclose their own discovered bugs. The full disclosure movement has been credited with forcing vendors to better secure their products and to publicly acknowledge and fix flaws rather than hide them. Vendor legal intimidation and censorship attempts are not tolerated here!” A great many of the fllowing web securities have been published here, Buffer overflow, HTTP Response Splitting (CRLF), CMD Injection, SQL injection, Phishing, Cross-site scripting, CSRF, Cyber-attack, Unvalidated Redirects and Forwards, Information Leakage, Denial of Service, File Inclusion, Weak Encryption, Privilege Escalation, Directory Traversal, HTML Injection, Spam. This bug was published at The Full Disclosure in November, 2014.




Discovered by:
Jing Wang, Division of Mathematical Sciences (MAS), School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (SPMS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. (@justqdjing)





More Details:




The New York Times Old Articles Can Be Exploited by XSS Attacks (Almost all Article Pages Before 2013 Are Affected)






“The New York Times (NYT) is an American daily newspaper, founded and continuously published in New York City since September 18, 1851, by the New York Times Company. It has won 114 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other news organization. The paper’s print version has the largest circulation of any metropolitan newspaper in the United States, and the second-largest circulation overall, behind The Wall Street Journal. It is ranked 39th in the world by circulation. Following industry trends, its weekday circulation has fallen to fewer than one million daily since 1990. Nicknamed for years as “The Gray Lady”, The New York Times is long regarded within the industry as a national “newspaper of record”. It is owned by The New York Times Company. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr., (whose family (Ochs-Sulzberger) has controlled the paper for five generations, since 1896), is both the paper’s publisher and the company’s chairman. Its international version, formerly the International Herald Tribune, is now called the International New York Times. The paper’s motto, “All the News That’s Fit to Print”, appears in the upper left-hand corner of the front page.” (Wikipedia)




(1) Vulnerability Description:

The New York Times has a computer cyber security problem. Hacker can exploit its users by XSS bugs.


The code program flaw occurs at New York Times’s URLs. Nytimes (short for New York Times) uses part of the URLs to construct its pages. However, it seems that Nytimes does not filter the content used for the construction at all before 2013.


Based on Nytimes’s Design, Almost all URLs before 2013 are affected (All pages of articles). In fact, all article pages that contain “PRINT” button, “SINGLE PAGE” button, “Page *” button, “NEXT PAGE” button are affected.


Nytimes changed this mechanism since 2013. It decodes the URLs sent to its server. This makes the mechanism much safer now.


However, all URLs before 2013 are still using the old mechanism. This means almost all article pages before 2013 are still vulnerable to XSS attacks. I guess the reason Nytimes does not filter URLs before is cost. It costs too much (money & human capital) to change the database of all posted articles before.










Living POCs Codes:’ “><img src=x onerror=prompt(/justqdjing/)>’ “><img src=x onerror=prompt(/justqdjing/)>?pagewanted=all&_r=0’ “><img src=x onerror=prompt(/justqdjing/)>’ “><img src=x onerror=prompt(/justqdjing/)>’ “><img src=x onerror=prompt(/justqdjing/)>’ “><img src=x onerror=prompt(/justqdjing/)>




(2) Vulnerability Analysis:
Take the following link as an example,“><vulnerabletoattack


It can see that for the page reflected, it contains the following codes. All of them are vulnerable.


<li class=”print”>

<a href=”/2012/02/12/sunday-review/big-datas-impact-in-the-world.html/”><vulnerabletoattack?pagewanted=print”>Print</testtesttest?pagewanted=print”></a>



<li class=”singlePage”>

<a href=”/2012/02/12/sunday-review/big-datas-impact-in-the-world.html/”><testtesttest?pagewanted=all”> Single Page</vulnerabletoattack?pagewanted=all”></a>



<li> <a onclick=”s_code_linktrack(‘Article-MultiPagePageNum2′);” title=”Page 2″ href=”/2012/02/12/sunday-review/big-datas-impact-in-the-world.html/”><vulnerabletoattack?pagewanted=2″>2</testtesttest?pagewanted=2″></a>



<li> <a onclick=”s_code_linktrack(‘Article-MultiPagePageNum3′);” title=”Page 3″ href=”/2012/02/12/sunday-review/big-datas-impact-in-the-world.html/”><vulnerabletoattack?pagewanted=3″>3</testtesttest?pagewanted=3″></a>



<a class=”next” onclick=”s_code_linktrack(‘Article-MultiPage-Next’);” title=”Next Page” href=”/2012/02/12/sunday-review/big-datas-impact-in-the-world.html/”><vulnerabletoattack?pagewanted=2″>Next Page »</testtesttest?pagewanted=2″></a>





(3) What is XSS?

Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of computer security vulnerability typically found in Web applications. XSS enables attackers to inject client-side script into Web pages viewed by other users. A cross-site scripting vulnerability may be used by attackers to bypass access controls such as the same origin policy.


“Hackers are constantly experimenting with a wide repertoire of hacking techniques to compromise websites and web applications and make off with a treasure trove of sensitive data including credit card numbers, social security numbers and even medical records. Cross-site Scripting (also known as XSS or CSS) is generally believed to be one of the most common application layer hacking techniques Cross-site Scripting allows an attacker to embed malicious JavaScript, VBScript, ActiveX, HTML, or Flash into a vulnerable dynamic page to fool the user, executing the script on his machine in order to gather data. The use of XSS might compromise private information, manipulate or steal cookies, create requests that can be mistaken for those of a valid user, or execute malicious code on the end-user systems. The data is usually formatted as a hyperlink containing malicious content and which is distributed over any possible means on the internet.” (Acunetix)


The vulnerability can be attacked without user login. Tests were performed on Firefox (34.0) in Ubuntu (14.04) and IE (9.0.15) in Windows 8.




Discover and Reporter:
Jing Wang, Division of Mathematical Sciences (MAS), School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (SPMS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. (@justqdjing)





More Details: