Papoo CMS 3.7.3 - (Authenticated) Arbitrary Code Execution








Advisory: Papoo CMS: Authenticated Arbitrary Code Execution

The Papoo CMS allows authenticated users to upload GIF, JPG and PNG images
if they have the "upload images" privilege, which is true for all default
groups that can access the administrative interface. The CMS checks the
uploaded images only for their header, but not for the file extension. It
is therefore possible to upload images with the file extension ".php" and
a valid image header. By embedding PHP code into the image (e.g. by using
the GIF comments field), arbitrary code can be executed when requesting
the image.


Product: Papoo CMS
Affected Versions: 3.7.3 (older versions are probably also vulnerable)
Fixed Versions: 3.7.3 after applying vendor patch
Vulnerability Type: Code Execution
Security Risk: medium
Vendor URL:
Vendor Status: notified, fixed version released
Advisory URL:
Advisory Status: published


"Papoo CMS is one of the best accessible CMS systems available on the
market. Furthermore, it can be handled easily in the backend as well as
designed very individually in the frontend. Besides being accessible,
our main characteristics are the high individuality regarding the layout
and ease of operation. Go and convince yourself on our reference page.
With Papoo you can create your web page easier, better, more optimized
for search engines and accessible. See here the most important
advantages of CMS Papoo at a glance."

(from the vendor's homepage)

More Details

The Papoo CMS implements a role based authentication model which allows
to give groups the right to upload GIF, JPG or PNG images to the CMS.
The default groups "Administratoren" (administrators), "Redakteure"
(editors) and "Chefredakteure" (chief editors) all have have this right
enabled. It is not allowed to upload PHP files via the "Dateien
verwalten -> Dateien hochladen" (manage files -> upload files) submenu,
as the extension ".php" is forbidden.

The "Bilder verwalten -> Bilder hochladen" (manage images -> upload
images) submenu does not check the images to be uploaded for their
extension, but only for a valid image header. It is therefore possible
to create an image with a valid header and the extension ".php" and
upload it to the CMS. Inside the image, arbitrary PHP code can be
embedded. When the image is requested by e.g. the browser, the web
server will execute the PHP code inside due to the image's ".php" file

Proof of Concept

The following command will generate a file with a valid GIF header which
runs the phpinfo() function when requested:

$ printf "GIF89a\x01\x00\x01\x00<?php phpinfo();?>" > poc.php

Upload the file with the "Bilder verwalten -> Bilder hochladen" submenu.
It is not necessary to complete the second upload dialog where you can
enter additional information about the image, as it will already be
available at the URL


A possible workaround is to disable the PHP Engine for the directory
that images are uploaded to. Note that there is a valid PHP script
_spamcode_image.php within that directory which might be required by the
CMS to operate correctly.


The vendor released a patched version of 'image_core_class.php' that
must replace the file 'lib/classes/image_core_class.php' in existing
Papoo installations [0].
NOTE: The archive containing the current version 3.7.3 of Papoo does
NOT contain a fix. Users downloading the latest version of Papoo MUST
apply the fix after installation.

Security Risk

It is common for Content Management Systems like Papoo to have users
with restricted access to the application, e.g. editors who can edit or
create pages on a certain level. Those users normally do not have any
system rights on the web server. This vulnerability enables them to
execute arbitrary PHP code with the runtime permissions of the web
server hosting the CMS. It is deemed a medium risk, as the user has to
be authenticated to the CMS and has to have the "upload images"


2009-05-15 Vulnerability identified during a penetration test
2009-05-20 Client notified
2009-06-05 CVE number requested
2009-06-05 Vendor notified
2009-06-30 Vendor releases patch[0]



RedTeam Pentesting GmbH

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pentests, performed by a team of specialised IT-security experts.
Hereby, security weaknesses in company networks or products are
uncovered and can be fixed immediately.

As there are only few experts in this field, RedTeam Pentesting wants to
share its knowledge and enhance the public knowledge with research in
security related areas. The results are made available as public
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# [2009-08-10]