Microsoft is warning that it has seen limited attacks against a vulnerability affecting Web applications built using ASP.NET.
Microsoft is warning users it has seen "limited attacks" targeting an ASP.NET vulnerability
that could potentially affect many Web applications.
The issue, which was demonstrated by security researchers Juliano
Rizzo and Thai Duong, is due to ASP.NET's use of encryption padding,
which provides information in error messages that can be used by an
attacker to potentially read and alter encrypted data. Duong and Rizzo
designed a tool to exploit the vulnerability, which they presented
at the Ekoparty security conference in Buenos Aires,
Argentina, last week.
"An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability would be
able to read data, such as the View State, which was encrypted by the
server," Microsoft warned
an advisory. "This data may also be tampered with by the attacker...[who]
could send this data back to the server and observe the error codes
returned by the server. By observing these error codes, an attacker
could gain enough information to decrypt and tamper with the encrypted
"An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could
also read data from files on the target server, such as web.config,
which the worker process identity already has access to," Microsoft
Microsoft said it is working on a fix. In the meantime, enabling
ASP.NET custom errors and mapping all error codes to the same error
page can serve as a workaround. Instructions on how to do that are
contained within the Microsoft advisory. The company's SharePoint team
warned that the issue affects SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint Foundation
2010, which require a slightly different workaround detailed here
The publicly disclosed exploit can be used against all types of ASP.NET Applications, including both Web Forms and MVC, blogged Scott Guthrie
corporate vice president of the Microsoft Developer division.
Configuring a custom 404 error page response and a default redirect for
all other errors still lets an attacker distinguish between a 404 and
other errors, he noted. Likewise, a custom logging module is only
effective as a mitigation if the responses it sends out do not let an
attacker draw a distinction between error messages through either their
content or the "time that it takes to serve out."
"It is always a best practice to encrypt sensitive configuration
data within web.config files," he added. "That way if your web.config
file is ever exposed, attackers cannot use its contents