UPDATE: They won the Pwnie for this at Black Hat! More surprising is the fact that allegedly someone from McAfee showed up to accept. At least they have a sense of humor. More details soon.
Likely you remember when Joseph Pierini at McAfee Secure / Hacker Safe said XSS wasn't important because "cross-site scripting can't be used to hack a server. You may be able to do other things with it. You may be able to do things that affect the end-user or the client. But the customer data protected with the server, in the database, isn't going to be compromised by a cross-site scripting attack, not directly."
That gem has made McAfee Pwnie worthy (winners announced tomorrow!); may the Lamest Vendor win.
That said, anyone with a clue knows that XSS attacks are ideal for credential theft, and if you can steal credentials, you can hack a server.
Looking for a textbook example? Check out mckt's new blog, skeptikal.org.
Here's a highlight:
"Every cPanel user's account contains a file titled .contactemail in its home directory. This is used to tell the server and administrators who to email when things go south, and can be changed by the user through the cPanel interface, the file manager tool, FTP, or through local scripts. It's only a text file, after all. Assuming we set our email address to:
When the friendly system administrator tries to reset our email address (because we forgot our password, obviously), he will receive an alert box in his browser.
But an alert box doesn't really demonstrate anything. Fortunately the WHM (Web Hosting Manager) interface has enough functionality that we can perform just about any system-level task we want. This one will reset the root password to 'owned':
Of course, the only limit is your imagination- WHM can set up cron jobs, add and delete users, send full backups to a server of your choice, and reformat hard drives."
Hmm...I'd say that would be a server hack. ;-)
Welcome, Mike...keep up the good work.
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