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Re: Security issue in SPARQL string escaping in SPARQL grammar

From: Steve Harris <steve.harris@garlik.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Dec 2011 10:23:29 +0000
Cc: Richard Cyganiak <richard@cyganiak.de>, public-rdf-dawg-comments@w3.org
Message-Id: <7DA8041E-39A8-4B24-A8D2-6CA5F3F228C1@garlik.com>
To: Paul Gearon <gearon@ieee.org>
On 2011-12-07, at 18:40, Paul Gearon wrote:

> Hi Steve (and all),
> This is a personal reply, and isn't an official response....
> On Tue, Dec 6, 2011 at 5:27 AM, Steve Harris <steve.harris@garlik.com> wrote:
>> On 2011-12-05, at 21:42, Paul Gearon wrote:
>>> On Mon, Aug 15, 2011 at 6:24 AM, Richard Cyganiak <richard@cyganiak.de> wrote:
> <snip>
>>>> I am surprised that the security issues arising from obfuscation through string escaping are not stated
>>>> in the Security Considerations sections of SPARQL Query and SPARQL Update.
>>> The SPARQL query language and SPARQL update language are separate
>>> languages. While they share a lot, the top level productions for query
>>> does not include update commands and the top level production for
>>> update does not include query.
>>> Therefore it is not a security consideration for SPARQL Query because
>>> DELETE, INSERT etc are not part of the language at all.
>> [this is Garlik's view, not an official response]
>> This is a common, but extremely dangerous misconception.
>> Security considerations aren't just about changing the contents of the database, it's also an issue with being able to make the SPARQL endpoint perform requests on behalf of the attacker.
>> SERVICE makes this obvious/easy in SPARQL 1.1, but even 1.0's FROM is a possible source of attacks.
> <snip>
>> Will cause some SPARQL endpoints to issue 6 HTTP requests *from inside the host's security zone* - this is both an escalation attack (1 request triggers 6), and also an indirection attack.
> I completely agree with you here Steve. I believe that this is
> addressed in the SPARQL Update Appendix A (Security Considerations -
> Informative):
> "SPARQL Update incurs all of the security concerns of SPARQL Query. In
> particular, stores which treat IRIs as dereferenceable need to protect
> against dereferenced IRIs from being used to invoke cross-site
> scripting attacks."
> I could update this to mention escalations.
> Outside of Richard's question (an official response to that will be
> forthcoming shortly), and the need for authentication and
> authorization, I think that most of the security concerns for Update
> are also concerns for Query. Can you think of other issues?

That sounds fine to me.

- Steve

Steve Harris, CTO, Garlik Limited
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Received on Thursday, 8 December 2011 10:23:59 UTC

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