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Date: Tue, 9 Apr 2013 10:36:53 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jeff Flanigan <>
Cc:, Michael Scherer <>,,
Subject: Re: Zimbra XSS in aspell.php, CVE request

Filed for 8.0.4. Thanks for the clarification of what we missed in bug 79640.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Kurt Seifried" <>
Cc: "Michael Scherer" <>,,
Sent: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 10:21:11 AM
Subject: Re: [oss-security] Zimbra XSS in aspell.php, CVE request

Hash: SHA1

On 04/05/2013 06:14 PM, Michael Scherer wrote:
> Le vendredi 05 avril 2013 à 18:05 -0600, Kurt Seifried a écrit :
>> On 04/05/2013 04:21 AM, Michael Scherer wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>> While trying to see how hard a bug would be to fix in Zimbra 
>>> during a discussion with a coworker, I stumbled across a XSS
>>> flaw in Zimbra, in a spell checking external webservice.
>>> Since I didn't found the public web interface for the source
>>> code of Zimbra and since perforce is not as straightforward to
>>> run on linux than git and slow to download the 2G of source
>>> code, I recommend to people to look at the github mirror, even
>>> if this mean losing some information and changelog.
>>> The issue is on this file : 
The problem is that $dictionary is coming from user input ( from
>>> GET parameters ), since it is a copy of $_REQUEST. Then if no
>>> text is given ( and so $text is empty ), it is printed back in
>>> the html form displayed without any kind of sanitization at all
>>> ( line133 : 
>>> So a attacker could inject javascript/html there just by
>>> giving crafted link to a user, running as the domain of zimbra
>>> ( albeit on a different port ). Something like 
>>> alert('foo');</script>
>>> ( with proper url encoding of course ).
>>> Due to typecasting, "" is considered as equal to NULL for
>>> '==', while it may not be the case in other circumstances.
>>> If I am not wrong, the default location for the spell checking 
>>> service is http://$config{HOSTNAME}:7780/aspell.php, so a 
>>> improperly secured server ( ie, without a firewall ) could be 
>>> vulnerable to javascript injection, which could be used to
>>> steal various informations ( like the session cookie ).
>>> However, depending on the browser and the security setting,
>>> the issue could be mitigated, even if it seems we can still
>>> steal the cookie with a spear phising attempt ( 
>>> The issue can be tested quite easily, just take any php
>>> hosting, download the aspell.php file there and run :
>>> $ curl 
>>> '<blink>'
You should see that the html code is inserted back in the form. I
>>> didn't spent time on writing a trivial exploit for that.
>>> Upstream have been notified on 2013-01-12 on a private bug ( 
>>> ), with
>>> first answer on 2013-02-22, along with a fix following on the
>>> next hours. However, the fix is incorrect, and my attempt to
>>> make the coder change his mind failed.
>>> The fix that was written can be found on a aggregate commit on
While that could fix a XSS issue if the code was correctly used,
>>> there was no security issue since the call of the function is
>>> wrong on line 67, we see 1 parameter is missing and the value
>>> of $dictionnary is overwrote by the return code and is always
>>> 0, so we cannot inject anything with it.
>>> As I couldn't convince upstream to correct this, and given that
>>> I have let enough time to react to them after following the 
>>> procedure, I consider that full disclosure is the next step to
>>> have it corrected.
>>> Can someone assign a CVE for it ?
>> Is this also in the open source version?
> I only used the open source version ( since I doubt the other
> version is cloned on github, that would kinda be a license
> violation ) and I do not have access to the closed source one ( or
> rather, i didn't tried very hard to have access to it to check, as
> I would not be able to link to source code for verification )
> However, I suspect that's the same for non open source one ( ie, I
> see no reason to have less features in the commercial version )

Ah sorry misread, thought you were testing against a live commercial
zimbra install the first time. Also added vmware/zimbbra security
(hopefully those email addresses exist) to the CC.

Please use CVE-2013-1938  for this issue.

- -- 
Kurt Seifried Red Hat Security Response Team (SRT)
PGP: 0x5E267993 A90B F995 7350 148F 66BF 7554 160D 4553 5E26 7993
Version: GnuPG v1.4.13 (GNU/Linux)


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