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Confessions Of A Hacker
By Zack Sanders, NetEqualizer Guest Columnist
It’s almost three in the morning. Brian and I have been at it for almost sixteen hours. We’ve been trying to do one seemingly simple task for a while now: execute a command that lists files in a directory. Normally this would be trivial, but the circumstances are a bit different. We have just gotten into EZTrader’s blog and are trying to print a list of files in an unpublished blog post. Accomplishing this would prove that we could run any command we wanted to on the Web server, but it’s not working.
There must be something wrong with the syntax – there always is, right? We have to write the command into an ASP user control file, upload it via the attachment feature in the blog engine, and then reference it in a blog post. It’s ugly, but we are so close to piecing it all together.
I think it’s time for another cup of coffee.
EZTrader is a fictitious online stock trading company. Their front end is relatively basic, but their backend is complex. It allows users to manage their entire portfolio and has access to personal information and other types of sensitive data.
EZTrader came to us with an already strong security profile, but wanted to really put their site through the ringer by having us conduct an actual attack. They run automated scans regularly, have clean, secure code for their backend infrastructure with great SEO, and validate every request both on the client side and the server side. It really was impressive.
In the initial meeting with EZTrader, we were given a login and password for a generic user account so that we could test the authenticated portion of the site. We focused a lot of time and energy there because it is where the highest level of security is needed.
After days of trying to exploit this section of the website with no results, frustration was growing in each of us. Surely there must be some vulnerability to find, some place where they failed to properly secure the data.
So what do you do when the front door is locked? Try a window.
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