XML External Entity (XXE) Injection

Affecting phpoffice/phpspreadsheet package, versions <1.5.1

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Overview

phpoffice/phpspreadsheet is a library written in pure PHP and providing a set of classes that allow you to read from and to write to different spreadsheet file formats, like Excel and LibreOffice Calc.

Affected versions of this package are vulnerable to XML External Entity (XXE) Injection via the securityScan() function. An attacker could bypass the protection mechanisms for XXE by using UTF-7 encoding in a .xlsx file.

Details

XXE Injection is a type of attack against an application that parses XML input. XML is a markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format that is both human-readable and machine-readable. By default, many XML processors allow specification of an external entity, a URI that is dereferenced and evaluated during XML processing. When an XML document is being parsed, the parser can make a request and include the content at the specified URI inside of the XML document.

Attacks can include disclosing local files, which may contain sensitive data such as passwords or private user data, using file: schemes or relative paths in the system identifier.

For example, below is a sample XML document, containing an XML element- username.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
   <username>John</username>
</xml>

An external XML entity - xxe, is defined using a system identifier and present within a DOCTYPE header. These entities can access local or remote content. For example the below code contains an external XML entity that would fetch the content of /etc/passwd and display it to the user rendered by username.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
<!DOCTYPE foo [
   <!ENTITY xxe SYSTEM "file:///etc/passwd" >]>
   <username>&xxe;</username>
</xml>

Other XXE Injection attacks can access local resources that may not stop returning data, possibly impacting application availability and leading to Denial of Service.

Remediation

Upgrade phpoffice/phpspreadsheet1 to version 1.5.1 or higher.

References

CVSS Score

8.8
high severity
  • Attack Vector
    Network
  • Attack Complexity
    Low
  • Privileges Required
    None
  • User Interaction
    Required
  • Scope
    Unchanged
  • Confidentiality
    High
  • Integrity
    High
  • Availability
    High
CVSS:3.0/AV:N/AC:L/PR:N/UI:R/S:U/C:H/I:H/A:H
Credit
alxjsn
CVE
CVE-2018-19277
CWE
CWE-611
Snyk ID
SNYK-PHP-PHPOFFICEPHPSPREADSHEET-72604
Disclosed
14 Nov, 2018
Published
19 Nov, 2018