Using google to find potentially misconfigured SharePoint sites

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Those in the security community who have ever performed vulnerability assessment/penetration testing will know of the Google Hacking database. Google is actually a very handy tool to look for potentially vulnerable sites, due to the fact that it will crawl anything it finds. Therefore, if you have misconfigured an externally facing web-based application, at some point the crawler will come along and your misconfiguration will end up in Google’s giant cache.

Extending this risk to SharePoint is not such a stretch. For example, type the following into a Google search…

"view all site content" "sign in" "people and groups"

What do you see?

Scary, huh?

Now to be fair, I have to make some points here.

  • Many of these sites are legitimately meant to be accessible to the public
  • I am not disclosing a SharePoint vulnerability, or any issue with the security of the product. Hence why this is not posted to say, bugtraq and I am not making a big deal of it beyond this post.
  • SharePoint is secure by default in the sense that privileged operations are protected by granular access permissions and anonymous access must be explicitly granted.
  • It is extremely unlikely that you will be able to change anything – as this is read-only anonymous access explicitly granted by the SharePoint administrator. Areas of the site not marked anonymous (e.g site settings) should be safe from modification
  • If there is an error here, then it is human error around configuration of the product.

But as a "bad guy", when you decide to target an organisation, you go through a phase of gathering as much information as possible. Some of these sites expose domain names, user account names and other personal details. Such information can be used to gather additional information. For example, knowing a person’s name, I could set up a fake email address, myspace or facebook account in that person’s name and target their colleagues using social engineering techniques. Using anonymity tools like tor in combination with say, WGET, you could sponge all of the data and documents on such sites for offline analysis.

Documents left inside public document libraries expose internal system names, acronyms and details that paint a fuller picture of the internal organisational set-up. Such information can be used for bogus telephone surveys for the purpose of obtaining more information, targeted Trojans disguised as patches, etc. On occasion, particularly sensitive information can be found within these publicly accessible lists and libraries. (Consider the risk if a data connection library or client list was contained in a site like this).

Additionally, when I see domain names, it gives me a pretty good idea of the topology of the SharePoint infrastructure also. Why? Well, for example, if I see domain names, then people are signing in using their domain accounts. Therefore, the SharePoint server has to be part of the Active Directory and is very likely residing on their internal network and published to the Internet via ISA or some other reverse proxy or port forwarding technique.

All in all, it should be a wake up call to SharePoint administrators about the risks of information disclosure when setting up public-facing SharePoint sites.

Google does not forgive (or forget).


Paul Culmsee

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2 Responses to Using google to find potentially misconfigured SharePoint sites

  1. Pingback: SharePoint Daily for July 22, 2008 - SharePoint Daily

  2. Pingback: Dan Griffin’s Blog » Hacking SharePoint, Part 2

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