Researcher Uncovers Twitter, Google Calendar Security Vulnerabilities

 
 
By Brian Prince  |  Posted 2010-01-02
 
 
 

A security researcher has uncovered vulnerabilities in Twitter and Google Calendar that could put users at risk.

In a proof of concept, researcher Nir Goldshlager demonstrated cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in Google Calendar and Twitter that he said could be used to steal cookies and session IDs. He also uncovered an HTML injection issue affecting Google Calendar as well that he said could be used to redirect a victim to an attack site any time the user viewed his or her Google Calendar agenda events.

Goldshlager sent the code to eWEEK, which in turn contacted Twitter and Google about the vulnerabilities. Twitter issued a fix for the issue Dec. 30, and Google told eWEEK Dec. 31 it would examine the input validation process for the Google Calendar field to help address the situation.

"We do not believe this report contains evidence of substantial security issues," a spokesperson for Google told eWEEK. "Trying to trick someone into copying unfamiliar, suspicious code into a Google Calendar text field is neither a likely attack vector nor one that we are seeing being exploited. ... Nonetheless, we will check the input validation mechanisms in Google Calendar text fields to help prevent any abuse of this capability before an event is sanitized."

According to Goldshlager, a penetration testing expert with Avnet Information Security Consulting in Israel, the cross-site scripting vulnerability can be exploited if a victim adds malicious code to his quick add post calendar.

"When the victim ... [adds] this malicious code, his cookies [and] session ID will be stolen and will be sent to the attacker site," he said. "Then the attacker will be able to get full control of the victim's Google accounts like: Google Calendar account, Google Groups, iGoogle, etc."

Goldshlager also demonstrated that the HTML injection vulnerability could be used to log a user out of his Google account, something the Google spokesman said "is of negligible security impact" and "can be avoided by not clicking on the link."

"They should fix this immediately because an attacker can redirect a victim to any site that he wants, and [with] the XSS issue an attacker can steal the victim's cookies and get full control of his accounts," the researcher said.

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