Unrestricted Access and Arbitrary File Read in Solr endpoint

Hello there. It has been two years since the last blog post, but I’ve been very busy getting some certs, breaking apart routers and other devices and, most importantly, getting a job :D. This time, I will be writing about my last two bounties, given by a very big company related to videogames that, unfortunately, I cannot disclose.

It all started when I received an email from a HackerOne private program saying that a new domain was up and running. Given that the program itself is a very old and hardened one, I decided to give it a try since it could be a very good opportunity to hack it. I fired up Burp and started looking around.


After some recon and many hours figuring out how to register a new account (it only allowed US citizens but didn’t specify it), I found an API endpoint that disclosed many URLs from the admin interface. I immediately visited some of them and noticed that they were all accessible for regular users, however, the functionalities in them didn’t work because the API endpoints they were using were actually restricted. Although this obviously didn’t give me the ability to do anything as an admin, I visited all of the URLs looking for something interesting to look into. Eventually, I found a dashboard that had a completely different look than the rest of the application:

Some googling later, I found that this dashboard is a fork of Kibana named Banana and is used to work with Apache Solr, which is a search platform written in Java that usually contains a lot of important data and, therefore, is a very juicy target. So, I looked at the endpoints that the dashboard was using and found the Solr endpoint itself: /api/solr/banana. It didn’t respond with any data, but it also didn’t throw any errors and the response corresponded to that given directly by Solr, so this meant that any user could interact directly with the endpoint. Great, that was worth a look.

After learning about Solr and reading some articles about common vulnerabilities and misconfigurations such as this one, I started by trying to get all cores available, which, very roughly, are kind of the different sets of data available in the Solr endpoint. This is done by requesting /api/solr/admin/cores, which successfully gave me more than 100 results such as User, UserLoginHistory, EntityPayment, etc. They could be queried at /api/solr/<core>/select?q=<query>. For example, to query all entries in the User core, we would request /api/solr/User/select?q=*. However, it was not that easy.

Getting unrestricted access

Although the Solr endpoint could be used by regular users, the information available was restricted to that accessible by each user. As an example, querying all user data with /api/solr/User/select?q=*, would only gives us our user data. This restriction was implemented by also executing a default query containing default conditions such as only retrieve data belonging to this user. This behavior could be seen in the raw response from the Solr endpoint, in which the attribute params contained a list of the executed queries, named q, with two elements: the default query set by the server ( ( tenantId:1 AND ...) and the query requested by the user, (*):

This mechanism was not mentioned in any post about hacking Solr and it might even have been custom to this application, so it required some additional tinkering.

One of the classic ways to trick Solr into doing some nasty things is by using the qt parameter. If enabled, it allows rewriting the request handler, which is what tells the server how to process the request. For example, in the case of /api/solr/User/select, the request handler would be /select. Other request handlers are /config, /update, etc. Essentially, this means that the request /api/solr/User/select?qt=/config would be rewritten as /api/solr/User/config. In fact, sometimes, the rewrite affects everything that the parameter qt includes. For example, a request like /api/solr/User/select?qt=/test-handler?param=1337 would be rewritten to /api/solr/User/test-handler?param=1337.

Obviously, I am not a Solr developer so I don’t know the inner workings of this feature. Be aware that this behavior may only affect certain versions and configurations and the explanations here may not be as correct as the ones provided by Solr docs.

This way, I played extensively with the qt parameter until I found that the request /api/solr/User/select?qt=/select?hacked&q=*, would produce the following response:

As you can see, the raw response from the Solr endpoint shows only one parameter q, instead of two as before, the parameter qt and a new parameter hacked?q with the contents of the previous restrictive default q. What is happening here is something like the following:

  1. The server receives the request /api/solr/User/select?qt=/select?hacked&q=* and processes the parameters in alphabetical order.
  2. The server processes parameter q and adds the query * to be executed.
  3. The server processes parameter qt and rewrites the URL from /api/solr/User/select to /api/solr/User/select?hacked.
  4. When it has finished processing the parameters supplied by the user, the server appends the default query to restrict access to other user’s data to the URL without the user supplied parameters: /api/solr/User/select?hacked?q=<default_query>
  5. The server processes the remaining parameters, in this case, hacked?q, which does nothing.

This way, the default query that restricted access to other user’s data gets bypassed, allowing the retrieval of all the information available in the Solr endpoint. In the case of the User core, which contained all kinds of personal information, there were 796165 entries. Also, there were other cores mentioned before with critical data such as UserLoginHistory, BusinessEntityAccount, EntityPayment, PasswordHistory, etc. Here are some examples of the retrieved data:

Reading files from the server

Then, after I reported the Unrestricted Access, I continued looking into the Solr endpoint. I tried many payloads I found around for RCEs and path traversal vulnerabilities and discovered that only GET requests were allowed, which limited many of the payloads that could possibly work. Although there are some ways to get around this with some shadowy parameters, such as the aforementioned qt, none of them worked.

I ended up looking at the nuclei templates repository, since it has been a very useful source of exploits and payloads for certain technologies in the past, and actually found some techniques to exploit Solr instances that I hadn’t seen anywhere else.

One of the techniques allowed Arbitrary File Read on Solr versions <= 8.8.1 and used the payload /solr/{{core}}/debug/dump?stream.url=file:///etc/passwd&param=ContentStream to dump de contents of /etc/passwd. In my case, I used the User core for testing so it was /api/solr/User/debug/dump?stream.url=file:///etc/passwd&param=ContentStream. At first, it didn’t work since it seemed like the server was only accepting requests to /api/solr/User/select. However, after some tinkering, I was able to use once more the parameter qt to rewrite the URL from /api/solr/User/select to /api/solr/User/debug/dump and sucessfully exfiltrate the contents of /etc/passwd! The resulting payload was /api/solr/User/select?qt=/debug/dump&stream.url=file:///etc/passwd&param=ContentStream:

Also, this vulnerability allowed me to list all the files inside directories. For example, these are the contents of the root directory /:

So, I wrote a simple script to easily traverse the file system of the server and found a lot of credentials for other systems of the company, such as databases:


I ended up reporting both vulnerabilities separately via HackerOne and got a total bounty of $1860. Thanks for reading and I hope you liked it :)