Security Experts:

Joomla Login Page Flaw Exposes Admin Credentials

Joomla 3.8 brings more than 300 improvements to the popular content management system (CMS) and patches two vulnerabilities, including one that can be exploited to obtain administrator credentials.

Researchers at RIPS Technologies discovered that Joomla versions between 1.5 and 3.7.5 are affected by a potentially serious vulnerability when using Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) authentication.

LDAP is designed for accessing directory systems via TCP/IP and it’s available in Joomla via a native authentication plugin that can be enabled from the Plugin Manager.

An analysis of the Joomla login page when the LDAP authentication plugin is used revealed that, due to the lack of input sanitization, an attacker can try to determine the username and password by guessing the credentials character by character.

“By exploiting a vulnerability in the login page, an unprivileged remote attacker can efficiently extract all authentication credentials of the LDAP server that is used by the Joomla! installation. These include the username and password of the super user, the Joomla! Administrator,” RIPS researchers explained.

“An attacker can then use the hijacked information to login to the administrator control panel and to take over the Joomla! installation, as well as potentially the web server, by uploading custom Joomla! extensions for remote code execution,” they added.

RIPS has published proof-of-concept (PoC) code, a video and technical information describing this LDAP injection vulnerability tracked as CVE-2017-14596. However, the company pointed out that the exploit also requires a filter bypass, which it has not disclosed.

The security hole was reported to Joomla developers on July 27 and it was patched this week with the release of version 3.8. While RIPS has classified the flaw as critical, Joomla’s advisory lists it as having medium severity.

Another information disclosure flaw patched in Joomla 3.8 is CVE-2017-14595, a low severity issue described as a logic bug in SQL queries.

Related: Joomla Patches Dangerous Security Flaws

Related: Critical SQL Injection Flaw Patched in Joomla

Related: Critical Vulnerabilities Patched in Joomla

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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.