Tag Archives: igoogle

Google Security says “Thanks Frank”

A few weeks ago I received the following in a mail from Google;

As a small token of appreciation for helping keep Google’s users safe and secure, we’d like to credit you on our website.

And indeed, yesterday my name was added to the “Honorable Mention” paragraph on Google’s Security Hall of Fame.

I don’t consider myself a security expert by any measure (although I am very interested in web app security) and I discovered that vulnerability in the iGoogle Facebook gadget merely by chance, but it’s nice to see my name (and a link to this blog) up there! Thanks for thanking me Google!

iGoogle Facebook gadget security flaw fixed & explained

I just received confirmation from the Google Security Team that the bug I discovered in the iGoogle Facebook Gadget which allowed attackers to log into an other user’s Facebook account bypassing all authentication, has been fixed. So now that the hole has been closed, let’s look at what was happening, shall we?

The gadget uses the Facebook’s Javascript API to the connect with Facebook, asking you for permission to access your FB data. In the process of getting that authorization, the gadget exchanges tokens with Facebook, some of which should absolutely be kept safe from prying eyes. And that’s where things went wrong: the gadget had the authentication info in the URL. So if a user of the iGoogle Facebook gadget clicked a link to an external site in the news feed, the request for that page had a referrer that contained all authentication-info.

And that’s exactly what happened on last week, when I spotted this referrer in my blog stats:

http://facebookiggadget.appspot.com/?exp_rpc_js=1&exp_track_js=1&st=c%3Dig%26e%3DAPu7icpJzJJhOouS8TuGegSqFHHI8XHU1r55OllrNbk0ey/aTpkUFx9jPKB/cwgcEZoGfcBuc43x/CuzuEL2cQinYglFvhFWKtlXg6j/JtKC0%252BWsAu3vo/3ZR/WA64J/Fmw1YuUFgT7q&v=fdb2b406636e1f3cff1c5d7e660f59eb&container=ig&view=home&lang=nl&country=BE&up_session=%7B%22uid%22:%221165373488%22, %22session_key%22:%2291d52d2ed5a130fd941b11f1-1175373488%22, %22secret%22:%22fdee68961b3cdee5b51390a4bdeac7a0%22,%22expires%22:0, %22access_token%22:%2283101558C90fd9KfA9KJQh5uT98TqIjxQpzUi4.%22,
%22sig%22:%22dd635ef67af1f59c1c671215076cce10%22%7D
&parent=http://google.be&libs=7ndonz73vUA/lib/liberror_tracker.js,iHKb-4mKuMY/lib/librpc.js,vrFMICQBNJo/lib/libcore.js,a5j4V1JuNVE/lib/libsetprefs.js&is_signedin=1&synd=ig&view=home

You can guess what happened when I opened that URL; the iGoogle Facebook gadget initialized using the embedded credentials, automatically logging me in as the guy that was unlucky enough to have clicked the link to my blog.

But how could this vulnerability have been exploited, you may ask? Well, easy enough; create a page that is viral enough for people to share or like  (likespam or even likejacking) and wait for users of the iGoolge Facebook-gadget (there’s over 1 million of them after all) to follow the links, feeding your webserver logfiles with credential-rich referrers.

As Google confirmed this bug indeed has been fixed. The new version of the gadget, which was deployed late last week, does not leak credentials in the referrer-URL any more:

http://facebookiggadget.appspot.com/?lang=en&country=us&.lang=en&.country=us&synd=ig&mid=101&ifpctok=6472409229927695377&exp_rpc_js=1&exp_track_js=1&exp_ids=17259&parent=http://www.google.com&libs=7ndonz73vUA/lib/liberror_tracker.js,iHKb-4mKuMY/lib/librpc.js,vrFMICQBNJo/lib/libcore.js,a5j4V1JuNVE/lib/libsetprefs.js

So if anyone asks me what my good deed for this year was; I helped protect 1 million people’s Facebook accounts from being hacked.

Sounds swell, no? ;-)

Severe vulnerability in iGoogle Facebook-gagdet

I by chance discovered a severe security vulnerability in iGoogle’s Facebook-gadget (more than 1 million users!), which allows an attacker to log into an other user’s Facebook account, bypassing authentication.

I contacted the author and the Google security team and they confirmed there appears to be a problem which they’ll look into. While they do so, I would strongly advise everyone not to use the iGoogle Facebook gadget. Once the hole is closed, I’ll provide more info on how this could be exploited.