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A Simple SQL Injection in an Air Force Website

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Information is key. What sort of information could be in an Air Force Database?

Who would get hurt by that data? Who would it benefit?

In 2017, 17-year-old me easily gained access to an Air Force database.

Back then, I practiced in the DoD's Vulnerability Disclosure Program (VDP). I was looking at the Airforce subdomains and I decided to look for sites running PHP.

To do this, I used Google. If you use Google, you should know about Google Dorks. (If you don't, look them up!)

I looked up: site:* + ext:php and + filetype:php

I got a ton of results and I visited one:


It was a form that asked for an email. So, I entered an email and submitted the form:


I decided to try SQL Injection. The application is likely saving my email to a database.

So, I tried the following: https://██████/███.php?email='

The application responded with an error message that the email address was invalid.

So, I tried the following: https://██████/███.php?email='

This time I got an SQL error!

You have an error in your SQL syntax

Sweet! It's MySQL! This application showed database error messages. Knowing this, I wanted to gain info through triggering error messages. Through MySQL's XML Functions.

The UpdateXML() function replaces an XML fragment and returns it.

UpdateXML('xml', 'xpath_expression', 'new replacement')

If the function is given an invalid XPath expression, it throws an error.

So, I came up with the following:

https://██████/███.php?email=' and updatexml(null,concat(0x0a,version()),null)--

XPATH syntax error: ':5.6.24-log'

I stopped here and I reported it to the Department of Defense's vulnerability disclosure program on HackerOne.

You can see the redacted report here: