Security Experts:

CSRF Flaw Allowed Attackers to Hijack GoDaddy Domains

Internet domain registrar GoDaddy has rushed to fix a cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability that could have been leveraged by malicious actors to take over domains.

The flaw was identified on January 17 by New York-based security engineer Dylan Saccomanni while managing a domain. The expert realized that the company had not implemented any CSRF protections for many DNS management actions.

According to the researcher, an attacker could have exploited the vulnerability to edit nameservers, edit the zone file, and modify automatic renewal settings.

GoDaddy CSRF vulnerability

Saccomanni has published proof-of-concept code for editing nameservers, disabling the auto-renew feature, and editing DNS records.

“Cross-site request forgery, much like cross-site scripting, relies on some form deception or social engineering in order to exploit,” the researcher wrote in a blog post. “However, it’s still serious, as an attacker can use the CSRF vulnerability presented here to de facto take over a domain from a victim. They don’t need sensitive information about the victim’s account, either – for auto-renew and nameservers, you don’t need to know anything. For DNS record management, all you need to know is the domain name of the DNS records.”

Saccomanni said he managed to get through to GoDaddy’s security team on January 18. The company informed him that there was no timeline for a fix. However, on January 19, GoDaddy had already rolled out CSRF protections for sensitive account actions.

SecurityWeek has reached out to GoDaddy to find out if there is any evidence to suggest that the vulnerability had been exploited before it was addressed.

CSRF vulnerabilities are highly common and they can plague a wide range of solutions. In the past months, such security holes have been found in numerous products, including Samsung’s Find My Mobile service, PayPal, CA Technologies’ CA Release Automation, FireEye’s FEOS operating system, and Schneider Electric's StruxureWare SCADA Expert ClearSCADA.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.