A10 Unvalidated Redirects and Forwards (redirect_to)

Ken Johnson edited this page Dec 24, 2017 · 5 revisions

Description

Applications frequently redirect users to other pages, or use internal forwards in a similar manner. Sometimes the target page is specified in an unvalidated parameter, allowing attackers to choose the destination page. Detecting unchecked redirects is easy. Look for redirects where you can set the full URL. Unchecked forwards are harder, because they target internal pages.

Railsgoat allows the redirection to the paths previously requested but for which the user did not have access. Following authentication, the user is redirected.

Bug

The application performs zero validation of the path for which they will redirect users, following authentication. The URL parameter is used to determine where to redirect the user, if the url parameter is not present, the user will be redirect to their home page.

app/controllers/sessions_controller.rb

def create
  path = params[:url].present? ? params[:url] : home_dashboard_index_path
  begin
    # Normalize the email address, why not
    user = User.authenticate(params[:email].to_s.downcase, params[:password])
   # @url = params[:url]
  rescue Exception => e
  end
  
  if user
    session[:user_id] = user.user_id if User.where(:user_id => user.user_id).exists?
    redirect_to path
  else
    # Removed this code, just doesn't seem specific enough!
    #  flash[:error] = "Either your username and password is incorrect"
    flash[:error] = e.message
    render "new"
  end
end

Solution

Unvalidated Redirects and Forwards - ATTACK

Ensure you are logged out of the application. When requesting the login page, ensure you append a url=. Then, authenticate to the application. Once authenticated, you should be redirected to your test url.

Unvalidated Redirects and Forwards - SOLUTION

To fix this vulnerability, validate the path. In our case, we really only want to redirect users to locations on our site. To do this, we can extract the redirect path code to a separate method like this:

def post_authentication_redirect_path(default_path: home_dashboard_index_path)
  path = params[:url] || default_path
  Rails.application.routes.recognize_path(path)
rescue ActionController::RoutingError
  default_path
end

And then call this code in our authentication method:

def create
  # ... snipped
  
  if user
    session[:user_id] = user.user_id if User.where(:user_id => user.user_id).exists?
    redirect_to post_authentication_redirect_path
  else
    # Removed this code, just doesn't seem specific enough!
    #  flash[:error] = "Either your username and password is incorrect"
    flash[:error] = e.message
    render "new"
  end
end

There are several cases where this code would be insufficient (for instance, if we need to redirect a user to a location that isn't part of our routes). For more information, see Extras: URLs vs URIs.

Hint

Read the description section, fairly big hint there.

Sections are divided by their OWASP Top Ten label (A1-A10) and marked as R4 and R5 for Rails 4 and 5.

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