Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



LimeSurvey Flaws Expose Web Servers to Attacks

A couple of vulnerabilities affecting the popular online survey tool LimeSurvey can be exploited by remote attackers to execute malicious code and take control of web servers with little or no user interaction, researchers warn.

A couple of vulnerabilities affecting the popular online survey tool LimeSurvey can be exploited by remote attackers to execute malicious code and take control of web servers with little or no user interaction, researchers warn.

LimeSurvey is a free and open source tool that allows users to create online surveys. The software is downloaded roughly 10,000 times every month and is used by individuals and organizations worldwide.

Researchers at RIPS Technologies discovered two potentially serious flaws in LimeSurvey version 2.72.3.

One of the security holes is a persistent cross-site scripting (XSS) issue that affects the “resume later” feature, which allows users to save partially completed surveys and reload them by providing an email address and password.

The email address field was not properly sanitized, allowing an attacker to inject malicious JavaScript code that would get executed when a user visited a specific web page – the attacker can lure a victim to this web page – or when an administrator viewed the partially saved data in the control panel.

The attacker can exploit the vulnerability to perform various actions on behalf of the authenticated user.

The second vulnerability is an arbitrary file write issue that allows an attacker to upload a malicious file by abusing LimeSurvey’s template editor. Exploiting this flaw requires authentication, but that can be achieved using the XSS bug.

According to RIPS researchers, the vulnerabilities can be chained into a single payload that gives the attacker control over the targeted web server.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“The vulnerability chaining […] yields a single final exploit which would add malicious JavaScript code to the admin panel through the Continue Later functionality of a public survey,” explained RIPS researcher Robin Peraglie. “As soon as the JavaScript payload is executed in the administrator context it can exploit the arbitrary file write vulnerability to give the adversary persistent shell access to the operating system remotely to maximize impact.”

LimeSurvey developers patched the vulnerabilities in November 2017 with the release of version 2.72.4, just two days after the issues were reported. However, RIPS has advised users to update LimeSurvey to the latest release of version 3.

Related: Over 8,800 WordPress Plugins Have Flaws

Related: Joomla Login Page Flaw Exposes Admin Credentials

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a managing 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.

Click to comment


Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

Gain valuable insights from industry professionals who will help guide you through the intricacies of industrial cybersecurity.


Join us for an in depth exploration of the critical nature of software and vendor supply chain security issues with a focus on understanding how attacks against identity infrastructure come with major cascading effects.


Expert Insights

Related Content


Less than a week after announcing that it would suspended service indefinitely due to a conflict with an (at the time) unnamed security researcher...

Data Breaches

OpenAI has confirmed a ChatGPT data breach on the same day a security firm reported seeing the use of a component affected by an...

IoT Security

A group of seven security researchers have discovered numerous vulnerabilities in vehicles from 16 car makers, including bugs that allowed them to control car...


A researcher at IOActive discovered that home security systems from SimpliSafe are plagued by a vulnerability that allows tech savvy burglars to remotely disable...

Risk Management

The supply chain threat is directly linked to attack surface management, but the supply chain must be known and understood before it can be...


Patch Tuesday: Microsoft calls attention to a series of zero-day remote code execution attacks hitting its Office productivity suite.


Patch Tuesday: Microsoft warns vulnerability (CVE-2023-23397) could lead to exploitation before an email is viewed in the Preview Pane.


The latest Chrome update brings patches for eight vulnerabilities, including seven reported by external researchers.