Home // Navigating CVE-2023-49103: Proactive Defense for ownCloud

Navigating CVE-2023-49103: Proactive Defense for ownCloud

0 10 minutes read
| Published on: November 30, 2023
  • Risk: critical
  • CVSS v3 Base Score: 10
  • CVSS v3 Vector: AV:N/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:C/C:H/I:H/A:H
  • CWE ID: CWE-200
  • CWE Name: Exposure of Sensitive Information to an Unauthorized Actor

The recent reports from BleepingComputer and Creative Collaboration highlight a series of critical vulnerabilities in ownCloud, a widely-used open-source file synchronization and sharing solution. These vulnerabilities are particularly alarming due to their ease of exploitation and the sensitive nature of the data at risk.

CVE-2023-49103: The Severe Vulnerability in ‘graphapi’

The Vulnerability Explained

CVE-2023-49103 is a critical vulnerability in ownCloud’s ‘graphapi’ app, receiving the highest severity score (10.0) on the CVSS scale. This flaw enables remote attackers to execute the PHP function phpinfo(), inadvertently exposing server environment variables. These variables can contain sensitive data such as credentials.

Affected Components

The issue affects ‘graphapi’ versions 0.2.0 and 0.3.0. A third-party library within these versions, when accessed through a specific URL, leaks PHP environment configuration details.

Exploitation and Consequences

Exploiting CVE-2023-49103 is relatively straightforward and has been widely observed in the wild. Particularly vulnerable are containerized deployments using Docker, where the exposure of environment variables can reveal admin passwords, mail server credentials, and license keys.

Addressing Related High-Severity Vulnerabilities

  • CVE-2023-94105: With a 9.8 severity score, it enables authentication bypass in the WebDAV API via pre-signed URLs, allowing unauthorized file operations.
  • CVE-2023-94104: This 8.7-severity flaw allows subdomain validation bypass, enabling attackers to redirect callbacks to a domain they control.

Immediate Response for CVE-2023-49103

  1. Deleting Vulnerable Files:
    • Pathowncloud/apps/graphapi/vendor/microsoft/microsoft-graph/tests/GetPhpInfo.php.
    • Technical Rationale: This file is the entry point for the vulnerability. Deleting it removes the immediate threat vector.
    • Command:
      • rm -f /path/to/owncloud/apps/graphapi/vendor/microsoft/microsoft-graph/tests/GetPhpInfo.php
  2. Disabling the ‘phpinfo()’ Function in Docker Containers:
    • Purpose: Prevent the function from being used maliciously to extract environment variables.
    • Implementation: Edit the php.ini file to disable the function.
    • Command:
      • sed -i 's/;disable_functions =/disable_functions = phpinfo/g' /etc/php.ini
  3. Changing Exposed Credentials:
    • Scope: Includes admin passwords, mail server credentials, object-store/s3 access-keys, and database access details.
    • Procedure:
      • For admin passwords, access the admin panel or use CLI tools provided by ownCloud.
      • Update mail server credentials in the configuration file or admin panel.
      • Rotate database credentials and update the configuration files accordingly.
    • Importance: Prevents attackers from using credentials they might have already compromised.

Long-Term Security Enhancements:

  • ownCloud is set to introduce hardenings in future releases to prevent similar vulnerabilities, indicating a commitment to ongoing security improvements.

Hypothetical Attack Example: Breaching via CVE-2023-49103

Stage 1: Identifying the Target

  • Method: Utilize network scanning tools like Nmap or Shodan to locate servers running ownCloud.
  • Criteria: Specifically target servers indicating the presence of the ‘graphapi’ app in versions 0.2.0 or 0.3.0.

Stage 2: Initiating the Attack

  • Crafting the HTTP Request: Use a tool like cURL or a custom script to send a request.
  • Example Code:
    • import requests target_url = 'http://target-owncloud-server.com/vulnerable-path' response = requests.get(target_url) print(response.text)

Stage 3: Data Exfiltration

  • Interpreting the Output: Analyze the phpinfo() output for environment variables.
  • Extracting Credentials: Look for specific patterns indicating admin passwords or database credentials.

Stage 4: Expanding Control

  • Privilege Escalation: Use the extracted credentials to log into the server or database.
  • Lateral Movement: Employ common tools like Metasploit to exploit further vulnerabilities or gain deeper access into the network.

Ethical Consideration and Defense

This hypothetical scenario is a demonstration of an attack vector and should only be used for educational purposes. To defend against such attacks, administrators should patch vulnerable software, regularly monitor and audit their systems, and employ intrusion detection systems to identify unusual network activities.

if you suspect to be compromised here is a small checklist to get you started:

CVE-2023-49103 Specific Checklist

  1. Web Server Access Logs
    • What to Look For: Requests to the vulnerable URL.
    • Typical Log Entry:
      • Look for entries accessing owncloud/apps/graphapi/vendor/microsoft/microsoft-graph/tests/GetPhpInfo.php.
      • Example: GET /owncloud/apps/graphapi/vendor/microsoft/microsoft-graph/tests/GetPhpInfo.php HTTP/1.1.
    • Action: Investigate any request to this URL, as it should not be normally accessed.
  2. Error Logs
    • What to Look For: Errors generated due to the exploitation attempts.
    • Typical Log Entry:
      • Entries related to PHP errors or warnings triggered by accessing the vulnerable URL.
    • Action: Pay attention to PHP-related error messages, especially if they coincide with the access logs mentioned above.
  3. PHP Logs (if enabled)
    • What to Look For: Direct invocation of phpinfo() function.
    • Typical Log Entry:
      • Explicit calls to phpinfo() function in the context of the graphapi app.
    • Action: Any instance of phpinfo() being called outside of a standard maintenance or debugging session should be treated as suspicious.

Understanding the Implications

These vulnerabilities in ownCloud represent a significant security threat, primarily due to the ease of exploitation and the potential access to sensitive information. The rapid response and recommendations provided by ownCloud and security researchers underscore the seriousness of these vulnerabilities and the need for immediate action by administrators of affected systems.

The case of ownCloud also serves as a cautionary tale about the inherent risks associated with open-source solutions, particularly in environments where sensitive data is handled. It’s a reminder of the importance of regular security audits, timely patching of known vulnerabilities, and the proactive management of third-party libraries and dependencies.

Finally, this situation highlights the evolving nature of cybersecurity threats and the need for continuous vigilance in the digital landscape. For organizations relying on open-source solutions like ownCloud, it becomes imperative to establish robust security protocols and stay informed about the latest vulnerabilities and patches.


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