Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mamma.com: Insider trading and XSS

Mamma.com's got issues other than Mark Cuban's insider trading allegations. As a point of reference for this conversation, Mamma.com is ranked 4064 on Alexa as of today.
I won't profess to following Mr. Cuban's public life and the occasional antics. Obviously, he's a colorful and popular figure; certainly in Dallas, if not nationally.
What follows is not a judgment of Mr. Cuban or his pending legal challenges. I'm sure the process will play itself out accordingly.
A quick summary and some reference material:
The SEC has filed insider trading charges against Mr. Cuban. "According to the SEC, Cuban dumped 600,000 shares, or all of his 6.3% stake, in the search engine Mamma.com (The Mother of All Search Engines), in June 2004 after learning about private financing that the company was proposing. By selling, he avoided losing $750,000, the SEC alleges."
The whole issue for Mr. Cuban was PIPE financing because it's "dilutive to existing shareholders’ stakes."
That's the long and the short of the current issue, and again, not my real interest here, with the exception of the bet I made with myself regarding the probable web application security posture of mamma.com.
All this talk about a popular site immediately sets off the little bell in my head (I hear it a lot).
"What's wrong with the site?" is always the first question I ask myself.

I was not disappointed.

Mamma.com exhibits the following issues:
1) XSS vulnerability in the utfout variable.

2) XSS vulnerability in the qtype variable.

3) XSS vulnerability in their Mammajobs site at the pid variable. This one's weirder still; if you drop an IFRAME in, it simply redirects to any URL you include in the IFRAME string.

4) The prospect of CSRF (rather pointless here given that its just a search engine, but but still defies best practices) appears likely given that mamma.com blindly accepts updates via GET and POST with no sign of a formkey (canary) in sight.

I figured it best to stop there, and have submitted all these to Copernic (the Momma parent company).
I am however truly disappointed that an enterprise as ambitious and motivated as Momma/Copernic seems to have thrown the baby out with the bath water when it comes to web application security.
With regard to Mark Cuban dumping his shares: maybe he was afraid of getting pwned. ;-) All kidding aside, it's a shame that the whimsical and pessimistic thoughts regarding web site security that bounce around in my head inevitably bear themselves out.

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1 comment:

Rafal Los said...

Always amusing Russ...Look - the bottom line is that in that kind of business it simply doesn't *pay* to be secure. Look at Google, right? Why in the world would Google care if their search engine has XSS flaws?
- Does that help their bottom line? - Does it somehow help them get more eyeballs on the ads they serve (the answer is maybe, btw)?

... and I know I'm preaching to the choir here when I say... if it (security) doesn't *make money* it's not on top of any web company's list of "features".

How depressing.

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