Monday, September 20, 2010

Important: ASP.NET Security Vulnerability

ASP.Net uses encryption to hide sensitive data and protect it from tampering by the client. However, a vulnerability in the ASP.Net encryption implementation can allow an attacker to decrypt and tamper with this data.

But what can the attacker do with this capability? Part of the answer depends on the ASP.Net application being attacked. For example, if the ASP.Net application stores sensitive information, such as passwords or database connection strings, in the ViewState object this data could be compromised. The ViewState object is encrypted and sent to the client in a hidden form variable, so it is a possible target of this attack.

If the ASP.Net application is using ASP.Net 3.5 SP1 or above, the attacker could use this encryption vulnerability to request the contents of an arbitrary file within the ASP.Net application. The public disclosure demonstrated using this technique to retrieve the contents of web.config. Any file in the ASP.Net application which the worker process has access to will be returned to the attacker.


The workaround for this vulnerability is to use the customErrors feature of ASP.NET to configure applications to return the same error page regardless of the error encountered on the server.

By following the steps in the advisory to map all error messages to a single error page, you make it difficult for the attacker to distinguish between the different types of errors, effectively limiting access to the oracle.

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