[OAUTH-WG] Report an authentication issue

rui wang <ruiwangwarm@gmail.com> Thu, 14 June 2012 17:18 UTC

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Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2012 10:18:16 -0700
Message-ID: <CAEEmcpEcNqNHwfVozD-NtfkruiB-v0MTszwNL4cob2rL=QQTSA@mail.gmail.com>
From: rui wang <ruiwangwarm@gmail.com>
To: oauth <oauth@ietf.org>
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Cc: Yuchen Zhou <t-yuzhou@microsoft.com>, "Shuo Chen (MSR)" <shuochen@microsoft.com>
Subject: [OAUTH-WG] Report an authentication issue
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Dear Facebook Security Team and OAuth Standard group,

We are a research team in Microsoft Research. In January, 2011, we reported
a vulnerability in Facebook Connect which allowed everyone to sign into
Facebook-secured relying parties without password. It was promptly fixed
after reporting. (

Recently, we found a common misunderstanding among developers of
mobile/metro apps when using OAuth (including Facebook’s OAuth) for
authentication. The vulnerability resulted from this misunderstanding also
allows an attacker to log into a victim user's account without password.

Let's take Soluto's metro app as an example to describe the problem. The
app supports Facebook Login. As an attacker, we can write a regular
Facebook app. Once the victim user allows our app to access her Facebook
data, we receive an access_token from the traffic. Then, on our own machine
(i.e., the "attacker" machine), we run the metro app of Soluto, and use a
HTTP proxy to insert the victim's access_token into the traffic of Facebook
login. Through this way, we are able to log into the victim's Soluto
account from our machine. Other than Soluto, we also have confirmed the
same issue on another Windows 8 metro-app Givit.

The Facebook SDK for Android apps (
https://developers.facebook.com/docs/mobile/android/build/#sdk) seems to
have the possibility to mislead developers too. At least, the issue that we
found is not clearly mentioned. In the SDK, we ran the sample code called
"Hackbook" using Android Emulator (imagine it is an attacker device). Note
that we have already received the access token of the victim user from our
regular Facebook app. We then inject the token to the traffic of Hackbook.
Through this way, Hackbook app on our own machine recognizes us as the
victim. Note that this is not a convincing security exploit yet, because
this sample code does not include the server-side code. However, given that
we have seen real server-side code having this problem, such as Soluto,
Givit and others, we do believe that the sample code can mislead
mobile/metro developers. We also suspect that this may be a general issue
of many OAuth implementations on mobile platforms, so we send this message
to OAuth Standard group as well.

We have contacted the vendors of the two vulnerable metro-apps, Soluto and

Please kindly give us an ack when you receive this message. If you want to
know more details, please let us know.

Best Regards,
Yuchen Zhou, Rui Wang, and Shuo Chen