Thursday, October 16, 2008

Open Redirects and Common Weakness Enumeration

Hopefully, you're more than familiar with CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures), but perhaps you're less familiar with CWE (Common Weaknesses Enumeration). Both are significant efforts, international in scope, and the excellent products of The MITRE Corporation, sponsored by the National Cyber Security Division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Approximately six months ago I was discussing open redirect vulnerabilities with Steven Christey of MITRE, who mentioned that that CWE entry for open redirects was sparse and dated, with little reference material. In particular, he pointed out the lack of defining papers. I accepted this information as a challenge and produced an article that was published in (IN)SECURE Issue 17. Soon after Issue 17 went live, I also took note of an excellent academic paper specific to the topic of open redirect vulnerabilities; Shue, Kalafut and Gupta's Exploitable Redirects on the Web: Identification, Prevalence, and Defense. Complete with these two papers as references, as well as two current CVE identifiers for popular web applications suffering from open redirect vulnerabilities (discovered by yours truly), CVE-2008-2052 & 2951, CWE-601: URL Redirection to Untrusted Site (aka 'Open Redirect') is now current and complete.
As open redirects are undoubtedly one of my biggest pet peeves, I am pleased to no end. Hopefully CWE-601 will help drive more application vendors and site operators to put an end to this easily mitigated vulnerability.

CWE:
"International in scope and free for public use, CWE™ provides a unified, measurable set of software weaknesses that is enabling more effective discussion, description, selection, and use of software security tools and services that can find these weaknesses in source code and operational systems as well as better understanding and management of software weaknesses related to architecture and design."


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1 comment:

Kevin Lam (Impacta LLC) said...

Russ, open redirects do not exist, they are a complete figment of your imagination, move on, the Internet is completely safe -- just kidding :P.

Good to see someone is trying to bring more light to this stuff. I had no idea an entire whitepaper was written on this topic so thanks for the post!

--Kevin