A Path Traversal in NASA

Web Application Security, Path Traversal

This post is about how I was able to read sensitive server-side files on NASA, marking my first P1 (critical) and accepted submission on bugcrowd. Image Description

Google dorking #

While Google dorking, I was specifically looking for file parameters, I used the following dork where I searched for parameters in nasa.gov containing the word filename:

site:nasa.gov inurl:filename -modis -wiki -visualization -construction

I reduced the results until I found a result that looked interesting due to the filename parameter loading an html file:


I sent the URL above to Caido’s replay tab and played with it there, then I sent it over to the automate tab.

Fuzzing #

In Caido Pro automate tab, I fuzzed the filename parameter with the JHaddix LFI wordlist found at PayloadsAllTheThings. The payload below gave me a 200 Status Code response:


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Exploiting #

When I discovered the path traversal, I noticed something strange. I was able to read the shadow file, among other files that should only be readable by root. This suggests that the webserver was running as root.

I didn’t try to escalate the vulnerability as this was already given a P1 severity. If I were to escalate I would have tested log poisoning, searching for sensitive files containing credentials, private keys, and such.

This finding was a fun one. Just before I was about to go to sleep, I Google dorked for the filename parameter, and surprisingly found a vulnerable domain. I had a good night that day. As a thanks, I received a Letter of Appreciation, which I recently framed :)

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