Authentication bypass and file manipulation in Sitecore Staging Module

SEC Consult Security Advisory < 20091217-0 >


title: Authentication bypass and file manipulation in

Sitecore Staging Module

products: Sitecore Staging Module

vulnerable version: Sitecore Staging Module <= 5.4.0 rev.080625

fixed version: Staging 5.4.0 rev.091111

impact: critical


found: 2009-09-07

by: L. Weichselbaum / SEC Consult /



Vendor description:


Sitecore CMS makes it effortless to create content and experience rich

websites that help you achieve your business goals such as increasing

sales and search engine visibility, while being straight-forward to

integrate and administer. Sitecore lets you deliver sites that are highly

scalable, robust and secure. Whether you're focused on marketing,

development and design, or providing site content, Sitecore delivers for



The main purpose of the Sitecore Staging module is to update two or more

Sitecore installations across a firewall.






Vulnerability overview/description:


The Staging Webservice (normally found in "/sitecore modules/staging/

service/api.asmx") used for transmitting files between the Sitecore Master

and Slave Server is vulnerable to authentication bypass and therefore

* files can be uploaded in arbitrary directories on the server

* files can be downloaded from arbitrary directories on the server

* directory listings of the whole server can be received

* the webserver cache can be deleted


An attacker is able to upload a shell, modify or delete sensitive data or

gain the whole source code of the application. Furthermore it is possible

to retrieve directory listings of directories of the whole server and the

webroot. All these actions are performed with the rights of the webserver

user. One tested server allowed us to compromise the whole server by

uploading a shell into the webroot.



Proof of concept:


Authentication bypass and file manipulation


To exploit this vulnerability, the example of "api.asmx?op=Upload" can be

used in a slightly modified form. The parameters "Username" and "Password"

can be set at random, but they must not be empty. The parameter "File"

contains the base64 encoded content of the file which should be uploaded.

For the parameters "append" and "isEncrypted" the value "false" is most

suitable. In "Destination" the location of the file on the remote system

can be specified. The following POST-request creates a file named test.txt

in C:\temp. It would also be possible to upload a shell into the Webroot.


POST /sitecore%20modules/staging/service/api.asmx HTTP/1.1
Host: hostToExploit
Content-Type: application/soap+xml; charset=utf-8
Content-Length: 599

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<soap12:Envelope xmlns:xsi="" 
    <Upload xmlns="http://Sitecore/modules/Staging/API/">


The same applies to the webservice operations "Download", "List" and

"Clear Cache".



Vulnerable versions:


Sitecore Staging Module

* <= v5.4.0 rev.080625


Vendor contact timeline:


2009-10-09: Contacting Sitecore.

2009-10-12: Reply from Sitecore.

2009-10-12: Preliminary advisory with full vulnerability details was sent

to Sitecore.

2009-12-02: Requested status of the planned security fixes.

2009-12-03: Reply from Sitecore, fixes are now in second iteration in their

QA department and they expect to release this before Christmas.

2009-12-03: Reply from Sitecore, vulnerabilities have been fixed and new

version has been released.

2009-12-16: Final version of the advisory sent to Sitecore and release

date was scheduled.

2009-12-16: Reply from Sitecore.

2009-12-17: Release of the advisory.





Update to Sitecore Staging Module v5.4.0 rev.091111




Delete the Staging Webservice (normally found in "/sitecore modules/

staging/service/api.asmx") to prevent arbitrary file manipulation.

The Sitecore Staging Module can thereby only use FTP for transmitting

files between the Sitecore Master and Slave with the Sitecore Staging



Advisory URL:




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EOF L. Weichselbaum / @2009