CVE-2018-7117: A Somewhat Accidental XSS in HPE iLO


At Atredis Partners, we often use dedicated lab networks for testing devices. This helps isolate these devices from "production" networks, and affords us the opportunity to monitor all network communications to/from the device as well as conduct interesting attacks. In this post, we'll briefly discuss a somewhat unexpected find shortly after plugging in an enterprise-grade server during an engagement a few months ago.

(You can also jump straight to the advisory we released today)


I'd like to tell you this was some unique, esoteric device with some incredibly amazing, difficult-to-find, l33t bug ... but I'd be lying. Instead, this device was an HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen10 server, which is fairly common in many enterprise environments; and the bug was ... Cross-Site Scripting.

Now, before the XSS is lame chest-beating begins, bear in mind this bug was found not in a web application running on the host operating system, but rather in the Integrated Lights-Out (or "iLO") side of things. For those unfamiliar, HPE iLO allows system and network administrators the ability to manage and monitor servers through a separate, dedicated network interface, API, and UI. Typical iLO capabilities include, but are not limited to, checking system hardware health, managing device power options (including turning the device on/off), mounting drive images, and even a remote console (although some "enhanced" versions of iLO further restrict access to this and other features).

Once the server was hooked up to the lab network and ready to go, we began poking and prodding all over the place, including the iLO web UI. After logging in and browsing around, familiarizing ourselves with the interface, identifying input points, etc., my colleague messaged me, asking "Did you do this?":


Admittedly, I was a bit amused by this whole thing because 1) it was a bit of an unexpected discovery and 2) the lab network is configured to "automagically" help test for this and other, similar issues, so it's become almost hands-off or even second nature.

I quickly realized this was the result of how this lab network's DHCP server was configured -- providing different values for DHCP options so as to identify (and even trigger) XSS, command injection and the like in vulnerable clients.

Digging in a wee bit further, we realized it was the domain name (DHCP option 15) that was being rendered unsanitized in the iLO web UI.


We adjusted the DHCP server configuration to do a bit more than just alert(1), and forced the iLO to pull a new lease, resulting in:



While DHCP-provided "domain name" could contain a simple HTML <script> tag with a JavaScript alert box in the authenticated user's browser, an attacker could also specify an external JavaScript resource, providing greater opportunities and capabilities.

That said, there are some things to think about in terms of the real world impact here.

For starters, security best practices, including those straight from HPE, dictate that out-of-band management networks should be connected to a "dedicated management network that is isolated from the production network", though this may not always be implemented correctly, if at all. This means that an attacker would need to be network-adjacent to the target(s), either by gaining a foothold on a device connected to that network and/or by way of a rogue insider, in order to spin up a specially configured DHCP server.

Second, at least for this specific issue, the target iLO(s) would need to be configured to use DHCP, although this is the default.

Third, although slightly less important, egress filtering rules would potentially need to allow devices in the management network to contact external hosts, i.e. to pull external JavaScript and/or exfiltrate data. I say "slightly less important" because it isn't out of the realm of possibility to host JavaScript resources on/transmit captured data within the management network itself, assuming the attacker already has a foothold there.


Belated TL;DR: don't underestimate the power of having a lab environment configured for identifying these kinds of injection issues from the get-go, as you never know what you may find, even in what may seem to be an otherwise robust and "secure" platform.

For those who want to perform this kind of testing themselves, there are myriad ways to do so, such as simply configuring your DHCP server-of-choice to dole out "malicious" values in DHCP options, or using freely available tools (or writing your own) to handle the task. The latter could be anything from a Metasploit module to a modified version of pydhcp.