Password Disclosure Vulnerability & XSS In PTC ThingWorx


Password disclosure vulnerability & XSS


PTC ThingWorx

Vulnerable Version

6.5-7.4, 8.0.x, 8.1.x, 8.2.x

Fixed Version

see Solution section

CVE Number

CVE-2018-17216, CVE-2018-17217, CVE-2018-17218






M. Tomaselli (Office Munich) | SEC Consult Vulnerability Lab

PTC ThingWorx was affected by a password disclosure and cross-site scripting vulnerability. The vendor provides patches which should be installed immediately.

Vendor Description

“ThingWorx is more than an IoT platform; it provides the functionality, flexibility and scalability that businesses need to drive industrial innovation─including the ability to source, contextualize and synthesize data while orchestrating processes and delivering powerful web, mobile and AR experiences.”


Business Recommendation

ThingWorx allows to configure Things to communicate with other services over several protocols (e.g. LDAP integration via a DirectoryServices Thing). In order to communicate with services that require authentification, ThingWorx provides functionality to associate credentials to a Thing.

During a brief audit it was noticed that ThingWorx Composer leaks the following sensitive data:

  1. The PBKDF2WithHmac512 password hash of a user Thing
  2. The AES encrypted password of several Things containing password attributes

Furthermore, the password used for encryption is hard-coded and thus identical along all installations.

Besides the above mentioned vulnerabilities a reflected cross-site scripting vulnerability was identified in the ThingWorx SQUEAL search function.

The vendor provides a patch which should be installed immediately. It is recommended to perform further thorough security audits as the product may be affected by other potential security vulnerabilities.

Vulnerability Overview / Description

1) Disclosure of User Password Hashes to Privileged Users (CVE-2018-17216)

ThingWorx discloses the PBKDF2WithHmac512 hashed passwords of its application users when doing exports with an administrative account. This enables an attacker to conduct offline brute-force or dictionary attacks against the obtained password hashes.

2) Disclosure of Encrypted Credentials and Use of Hard-Coded Passwords (CVE-2018-17217)

A critical information disclosure vulnerability leaks the AES encrypted passwords of services configured within ThingWorx. Due to a hard-coded master password in the SecureData class, an attacker is able to decrypt the obtained passwords which grants him access to other services. The AES encrypted password gets disclosed in the server response when a user/attacker visits a Thing that contains credentials.

3) Reflected Cross-Site Scripting (CVE-2018-17218)

The JavaScript part of the ThingWorx SQUEAL search functionality (searchExpression parameter) which is responsible for parsing the obtained JSON response fails to properly sanitize user supplied input. If the victim views attacker-prepared content (e.g. on a website or in an HTML email) an attacker is able to execute arbitrary actions in the context of its victims’ sessions.

Proof Of Concept

The proof of concept has been removed from this advisory.

Vulnerable / Tested Versions

The vulnerabilities have been verified to exist in version 8.0.1-b39 which was the latest version available at the time of the test. The vendor provided further affected version information. See the Solution section for reference.

Vendor Contact Timeline

2018-03-14 Contacting vendor through email.
2018-03-16 Advisory sent to vendor via encrypted mail.
2018-03 – 2018-09 Multiple phone calls with PTC R&D department discussing release & multi-party disclosure.
2018-08-15 Vendor provided private notifications to customers to give 45 days to upgrade.
2018-10-01 Coordinated release of SEC Consult advisory.


Best recommendation is to upgrade to the latest version of ThingWorx to version 8.3.2 (at time of writing).

For newer verions, the issue of the hard coded password has been fixed and the SQUEAL function removed.

The minimum upgrade to obtain mitigations for all 3 issues depends on the version of ThingWorx in use.

  • For ThingWorx versions 6.5-7.4, upgrade to 7.4.14+
  • For ThingWorx version 8.0.x, upgrade to 8.0.12+
  • For ThingWorx version 8.1.x, upgrade to 8.1.7+
  • For ThingWorx version 8.2.x, upgrade to 8.2.4+

The vendor always recommends upgrading to the latest availabe service pack.

See the following advisory by the vendor for further information:


1) Disclosure of User Password Hashes to Privileged Users

To limit exposure, disabling all native ThingWorx users and solely rely on users that make use of Active Directory or Single Sign On (SSO) authentication, since the password hashes are then not saved within ThingWorx.

2) Disclosure of Encrypted Credentials and Use of Hard-Coded Passwords


3) Reflected Cross-Site Scripting

This issue only exists because of a deprecated feature called SQUEAL. Removal of this function will eliminate the XSS issue.

  • This SQUEAL functionality is already removed in ThingWorx 8.1.0+.
  • For versions older than 8.1.0, a workaround is available at the PTC support site.

Updating to fix all 3 issues is recommended.

Advisory URL



EOF M. Tomaselli / @2018


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