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CERT Coordination Center


iPlanet Web Server Enterprise Edition and Netscape Enterprise Server Web Publisher command exposes server to brute force attack

Vulnerability Note VU#985347

Original Release Date: 2002-01-08 | Last Revised: 2002-01-08

Overview

A vulnerability exists in iPlanet Web Server Enterprise Edition and Netscape Enterprise Server that allows an attacker to make repeated authentication attempts if a server is configured to use HTTP basic authentication. While the risk is not greater than any other brute force attack using HTTP basic authentication, this vulnerability may represent an unexpected avenue of attack.

Description

ProCheckup has reported a vulnerability in iPlanet Web Server, Enterprise Edition and Netscape Enterprise Server running on Windows NT based operating systems. The iPlanet and NES servers provide a feature called Web Publisher. According to NES documentation:

Netscape Enterprise Server 4.0 clients can use Web Publisher to collaborate on projects by directly accessing, editing, and managing file on remote servers. Web Publisher provides sophisticated features for server clients, such as file management, editing and publishing, and access control.
The Web Publisher wp-force-auth command initiates an HTTP Basic Authentication dialog. An attacker may make repeated calls to wp-force-auth in an attempt to guess valid user credentials. Well-known user credentials, such as Administrator or Guest on Windows systems, or root or nobody on Unix/Linux systems, may be subjected to brute-force attacks. While the exposure created by this vulnerability is no greater than that of any other brute force attack, this vulnerability may represent an unexpected avenue of attack.

Impact

An unauthenticated remote attacker may make repeated attempts to guess valid user credentials.

Solution

Disable Web Publishing
iPlanet recommends disabling Web Publisher and Directory Indexing on external servers:

http://developer.netscape.com/docs/manuals/enterprise/40/ag/esapuirf.htm#1005372

Another method for disabling Web Publisher is to use a Netscape Server Application Programming Interface (NSAPI) Server Application Functions (SAF):

http://knowledgebase.iplanet.com/ikb/kb/articles/7761.html

Filter HTTP TrafficIt may be possible to use an application layer filter to detect and block HTTP requests containing the ?wp-force-auth command.

Vendor Information

985347
Expand all

Netscape

Notified:  August 22, 2001 Updated:  January 08, 2002

Status

  Vulnerable

Vendor Statement

Netscape Enterprise Server 2.x, Netscape Enterprise Server 3.x, iPlanet Web Server 4.x, and iPlanet Web Server 6.x with Web Publisher enabled are vulnerable.

Vendor Information

The vendor has not provided us with any further information regarding this vulnerability.

Addendum

The CERT/CC has no additional comments at this time.

If you have feedback, comments, or additional information about this vulnerability, please send us email.

iPlanet

Notified:  August 22, 2001 Updated:  January 08, 2002

Status

  Vulnerable

Vendor Statement

Netscape Enterprise Server 2.x, Netscape Enterprise Server 3.x, iPlanet Web Server 4.x, and iPlanet Web Server 6.x with Web Publisher enabled are vulnerable.

Vendor Information

The vendor has not provided us with any further information regarding this vulnerability.

Addendum

The CERT/CC has no additional comments at this time.

If you have feedback, comments, or additional information about this vulnerability, please send us email.


CVSS Metrics

Group Score Vector
Base N/A N/A
Temporal N/A N/A
Environmental N/A

References

Credit

The CERT Coordination Center thanks ProCheckup for information used in this document.

This document was written by Art Manion.

Other Information

CVE IDs: None
Severity Metric: 1.50
Date Public: 2002-01-08
Date First Published: 2002-01-08
Date Last Updated: 2002-01-08 18:36 UTC
Document Revision: 18

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