This Week In Security: OpenEMR, Bing Chat, And Alien Kills Pixels

Researchers at Sonar took a crack at OpenEMR, the Open Source Electronic Medical Record solution, and they found problems. Tthe first one is a classic: the installer doesn’t get removed by default, and an attacker can potentially access it. And while this isn’t quite as bad as an exposed WordPress installer, there’s a clever trick that leads to data access. An attacker can walk through the first bits of the install process, and specify a malicious SQL server. Then by manipulating the installer state, any local file can be requested and sent to the remote server.

There’s a separate set of problems that can lead to arbitrary code execution. It starts with a reflected Cross Site Scripting (XSS) attack. That’s a bit different from the normal XSS issue, where one user puts JavaScript on the user page, and every user that views the page runs the code. In this case, the malicious bit is included as a parameter in a URL, and anyone that follows the link unknowingly runs the code.

And what code would an attacker want an authenticated user to run? A file upload, of course. OpenEMR has function for authenticated users to upload files with arbitrary extensions, even .php. The upload folder is inaccessible, so it’s not exploitable by itself, but there’s another issue, a PHP file inclusion. Part of the file name is arbitrary, and is vulnerable to path traversal, but the file must end in .plugin.php. The bit of wiggle room on the file name on both sides allow for a collision in the middle. Get an authenticated user to upload the malicious PHP file, and then access it for instant profit. The fixes have been available since the end of November, in version 7.0.0-patch-2.

Bing Chat Injection

Or maybe it’s AI freedom. So, the backstory here is that the various AI chat bots are built with rules. Don’t go off into political rants, don’t commit crimes, and definitely don’t try to scam the users. One of the more entertaining tricks clever users have discovered is to tell a chatbot to emulate a personality without any such rules. ChatGPT can’t comment on political hot button issues, but when speaking as DAN, anything goes.


This becomes really interesting when Bing Chat ingests a website that has targeted prompts. It’s trivial to put text on a web page that’s machine readable and invisible to the human user. This work puts instructions for the chat assistant in that hidden data, and demonstrates a jailbreak that turns Bing Chat malicious. The fun demonstration convinces the AI to talk like a pirate — and then get the user to click on an arbitrary link. The spooky demo starts out by claiming that Bing Chat is down, and the user is talking to an actual Microsoft engineer.

LastPass Details — Plex?

Last time we talked about the LastPass breach, we had to make some educated guesses about how things went down. There’s been another release of details, and it’s something. Turns out that in one of the earlier attacks, an encrypted database was stolen, and the attackers chose to directly target LastPass Engineers in an attempt to recover the encryption key.

According to Ars Technica, the attack vector was a Plex server run by one of those engineers. Maybe related, at about the same time, the Plex infrastructure was also breached, exposing usernames and hashed passwords. From this access, attackers installed a keylogger on the developer’s home machine, and captured the engineer’s master password. This allowed access to the decryption keys. There is some disagreement about whether this was/is a 0-day vulnerability in the Plex software. Maybe make sure your Plex server isn’t internet accessible, just to be safe.

There’s one more bit of bad news, particularly if you use the LastPass Single Sign On (SSO) service. That’s because the SSO secrets are generated from an XOR of two keys, K1 and K2. K1 is a single secret for every user at an organization. K2 is the per-user secret stored by Lastpass. And with this latest hack, the entire database of K2 secrets were exposed. If K1 is still secret, all is well. But K1 isn’t well protected, and is easily accessed by any user in the organization. Ouch.

The Ring Alien

Turns out, just like a certain horror movie, there is a video that the very watching causes death. If you happen to be a Pixel phone, that is. And “death” might be a bit of an exaggeration. Though the video in question certainly nails the vibe. Playing a specific YouTube clip from Alien will instantly reboot any modern Pixel phone. A stealth update seems to have fixed the issue, but it will be interesting to see if we get any more details on this story in the future. After all, when data can cause a crash, it can often cause code execution, too.


The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) maintains a list of bugs that are known to be under active exploitation, and that list just recently added a set of notches. CVE-2022-36537 is the most recent, a problem in the ZK Framework. That’s an AJAX framework used in many places, notable the ConnectWise software. Joining the party are CVE-2022-47986, a flaw in IBM Aspera Faspex, a file transfer suite, and CVE-2022-41223 and CVE-2022-40765, both problems in the Mitel MiVoice Business phone system.

Bits and Bytes

There’s yet another ongoing attack against the PyPI repository, but this one mixes things up a bit by dropping a Rust executable as one stage in a chain of exploitation. The other novel element is that this attack isn’t going after typos and misspellings, but seems to be a real-life dependency confusion attack.

The reference implementation of the Trusted Platform Module 2.0 was discovered to contain some particularly serious vulnerabilities. The issue is that a booted OS could read and write two bytes beyond it’s assigned data. It’s unclear weather that’s a static two bytes, making this not particularly useful in the real world, or if these reads could be chained together, slowly leaking larger chunks of internal TPM data.

And finally, one more thing to watch out for, beware of fake authenticator apps. This one is four years old, has a five star rating, and secretly uploads your scanned QR codes to Google Analytics, exposing your secret authenticator key. Yoiks.

8 thoughts on “This Week In Security: OpenEMR, Bing Chat, And Alien Kills Pixels

  1. “…but this one mixes things up a bit by dropping a Rust executable…”

    Why does anything written in Rust always have to say so? If it was written in C it wouldn’t say “…but this one mixes things up a bit by dropping a C executable…”.

    Is there a genuine reason, beyond fashion?

    1. I’d say at this point there is a genuine reason – it is still unusual, it would be just as worth mentioning if it was written in Cobol (and not a million years old) for the same reason. Anything that isn’t one of the big common languages makes it strange, and anything strange is easier to spot, especially when you go looking for it.

      Might also turn out to be a useful indicator into the who, where, why type questions – Rust is rare enough to be a bit of a signature. Where the common languages it is needle in a haystack of vast proportions, and for good measure that needle is a bone needle…

  2. I run no cookies, no history, no login. I have no Twitter handle or login, and no facebook/meta account. I follow no-one, and only see Twitter incidentally.
    So I get the raw, unfiltered “algorithm” output that Twitter/Meta/Google sees fit to feed.

    And my lord, that authenticator twitter thread is toxic.
    Is that representative of the “average” mindset these days? That’s terrifying. So. Much. Hate. What’s become of our society?

    1. ??? Are you reading the same thread I am? I’m only seeing people asking for advice on what authenticator app to use, and a dig at the Apple Store for their quality curation.
      Where’s the hate you are seeing?

      PS I don’t have Twitter, Facebook, Google either and deny all cookies.

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