WordPress Symposium plugin multiple stored XSS vulnerabilities

Secunia Advisory SA 49791

Analysis of add_to_page vulnerability
The first vulnerability in /ajax/symposium_ajax_functions.php┬áin the “add_to_page” action relies on a lack of validation of the $current_user variable that is declared through global. The function allows you to append text to any arbitrary page, which can be abused for a XSS attack.

Because there is no validation of the user calling this action before this, as the $current_user variable is only just globally included at line 156, and no valididation is made in respect to it, we have a vulnerability since globally including a variable does not guarantee that it exists. Therefor you can call this while not being authenticated, and add a XSS payload to any page:

If you now load the frontpage(Which is by default page 1), you will now observe that it alerts out your cookie.

Analysis of add_new_page vulnerability
This vulnerability in /ajax/symposium_ajax_functions.php is very much like the first one. Again it’s a lack of validation of the current user. This function, rather than add content to an existing page, serves to allow an user to create a new page with some content(A shortcode specifically, but no validation is made that it is just that). This block of code might look big and scary, big in reality most of the lines are simply SQL queries.

This long bit of code will effectively take in any arbitrary text input and add a new page with said input. As there’s no validation of the current user being authenticated, leave alone being an user with appropiate privileges to do this, we can exploit this to pull off a persistent XSS by adding a new page:

Analysis of import_template_file vulnerability
The last vulnerability in /ajax/symposium_ajax_functions.php is a bit more fun, because it does not directly touch the DB in this code. Rather, it uses the symposium_update_import_snippet function to extraplote a value to insert into the database through update_option. By being a bit crafty with our request, we can once again cause a persistent XSS due to a lack of validation of the calling user, since we can ship our payload into parts of the template, many of which are used by *most* pages.

In our request, we need to add a bit of whatespace around our payload to allow for a margin of error, because the way it does the substringing isn’t that nice. This request will show how to do a simple alert, which will show on most pages on the site.

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