Hash: SHA1

             AUSCERT External Security Bulletin Redistribution

                       ESB-2007.0730 -- [Appliance]
                Google Search Application XSS Vulnerability
                             27 September 2007


        AusCERT Security Bulletin Summary

Product:              Google Search Appliance
Publisher:            UK Centre for the Protection of National 
                        Infrastructure (CPNI)
Operating System:     Network Appliance
Impact:               Cross-site Scripting
Access:               Remote/Unauthenticated

Original Bulletin:    http://www.cpni.gov.uk/Products/3402.aspx

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CSIRTUK ADVISORY - 3402 dated 26.09.07 time 13:58

Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI)


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Google Search Application XSS Vulnerability

ID: 3402
Date: 26 September 2007 13:58

- ------------------------------------------------------------------------
- --------
Title: 3402 - Google Search Application XSS Vulnerability
Abstract: Description of a reported vulnerability in Google Search
Appliance by GovCERTUK.
Vendors affected:Google
Applications affected:Google Search Application 
Advisory type: Information
Source: GovCERTUK
Reliability of source: Trusted
Source URL: http://www.govcertuk.gov.uk/

Issued: 26/09/07


On the 18th September 2007, a Ukrainian Website reported that a Cross
Site Scripting (XSS) vulnerability existed in the Google Search
Application. The Google Search Application can be used for searching a
local website, and is widely used on Internet facing websites to provide
search functionality both internally and externally.


Cross Site Scripting (XSS)

XSS is a common vulnerability that could allow malicious content to be
delivered by an attacker whilst spoofing a legitimate source. Examples
of an XSS vulnerability can be used for malicious activity include:

Attacking other users

An attacker could create a malicious web link that appears to be
legitimate, and distribute it to a large target audience (e.g. via email
or message board posts). The attacker would need to convince users to
visit the malicious site, and by using a .gov.uk URL it can add
significant credibility to this, as it appears to be hosted at a
legitimate, trusted domain. Anyone that follows the link would load a
webpage containing malicious code. This is then executed on the local
machine utilising vulnerabilities in the browser (see Appendix A)
allowing an attacker to take control of the local machine.

Phishing attacks

An attacker could send out a crafted email that, using social
engineering techniques convinces a user to visit a website. The link
that the user clicks however directs them to a site that the attacker
has crafted to look authentic. This site encourages the user to provide
personal information, which is then submitted to a site the attacker

Website defacement

Using XSS it could be possible for an attacker to alter the content of a
web page. This could include altering text as well as the addition of
damaging or defamatory statements. For example, an attacker could add a
political statement, or generally deface the site.

How this affects the Google Search Application

The Google Search Application is vulnerable to the above mentioned XSS
vulnerabilities. This means that a vulnerable website could be used to
deliver malicious content to an end user.

There are also more advanced attacks possible using XSS, including
persisting XSS code across sites, attacking intranet sites and proxy
browsing. However at this time it is not thought that the Google Search
Application is vulnerable to these advanced XSS attacks.

Mitigation Advice

GovCertUK advises that the Google Search Application be completely
disabled until Google issue a patch to resolve this vulnerability.

In addition to this there are steps that should be taken to prevent
further XSS exploitation:

All user input should be validated for potentially malicious input. For
example, an input field for a telephone number should be validated to
remove all non-numeric characters.

All user input should be encoded into HTML. This prevents special
characters, such as '&' or '<', from being interpreted as HTML itself.

Departments are reminded that proper content filtering will also help
prevent XSS and other vulnerabilities.

Appendix A

There are various browser vulnerabilities that exist that could allow an
attacker to gain control of the user's machine. Common vulnerabilities

The RDS.Dataspace vulnerability (MS06-014)

The VML vulnerability (MS06-055)

The ANI vulnerability (MS07-017)


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Thank you for your contribution.


CSIRTUK wishes to acknowledge the contributions of GovCERTUK for the
information contained in this advisory.

This advisory contains information released by the original author. 
Some of the information may have changed since it was released. If the 
issue affects you, it may be prudent to retrieve the advisory from the 
site of the original source to ensure that you receive the most current 
information concerning that problem.

Reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service by 
trade name, trademark manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or 
imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favouring by CPNI. The views 
and opinions of authors expressed within this notice shall not be used 
for advertising or product endorsement purposes.

CPNI shall not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions 
contained within this advisory. In particular, they shall not be liable 
for any loss or damage whatsoever, arising from or in connection with 
the usage of information contained within this advisory.

CSIRTUK is a member of the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams
(FIRST) and has contacts with other international Incident Response Teams 
(IRTs) in order to foster cooperation and coordination in incident 
prevention, to prompt rapid reaction to incidents, and to promote 
information sharing amongst its members and the community at large.

<End of CPNI Advisory>

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