Mikhail Shcherbakov and Musard Balliu, KTH Royal Institute of Technology; Cristian-Alexandru Staicu, CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security
In this paper, we set out to study the problem in a holistic way, from the detection of prototype pollution to detection of gadgets, with the ambitious goal of finding end-to-end exploits beyond DoS, in full-fledged Node.js applications. We build the first multi-staged framework that uses multi-label static taint analysis to identify prototype pollution in Node.js libraries and applications, as well as a hybrid approach to detect universal gadgets, notably, by analyzing the Node.js source code. We implement our framework on top of GitHub's static analysis framework CodeQL to find 11 universal gadgets in core Node.js APIs, leading to code execution. Furthermore, we use our methodology in a study of 15 popular Node.js applications to identify prototype pollutions and gadgets. We manually exploit eight RCE vulnerabilities in three high-profile applications such as NPM CLI, Parse Server, and Rocket.Chat. Our results provide alarming evidence that prototype pollution in combination with powerful universal gadgets lead to RCE in Node.js.
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