Microsoft Vulnerability Research Advisory MSVR12-002

Vulnerability in DotNetNuke Could Allow Arbitrary Script Execution

Published: February 21, 2012

Version: 1.0


Executive Summary

Microsoft is providing notification of the discovery and remediation of a vulnerability affecting DotNetNuke 6.0.2 and earlier versions. Microsoft discovered and disclosed the vulnerability under coordinated vulnerability disclosure to the affected vendor, DotNetNuke. DotNetNuke has remediated the vulnerability in their software.

The vulnerability exists in the way that affected versions of DotNetNuke handle specially crafted HTML that contains JavaScript. Under certain conditions, specially crafted HTML that contains JavaScript can bypass the cross-site scripting filtering that is performed in the telerik HTML editor, resulting in several persistent cross-site scripting conditions. In addition, with the inclusion of the messaging component in DotNetNuke 5.5.0 and later affected versions, an attacker could attempt to exploit the vulnerability by sending a specially crafted message to a user. When the message is read by the user, arbitrary script could be executed in the context of the current user.

Microsoft Vulnerability Research reported this issue to and coordinated with DotNetNuke to ensure remediation of this issue. The vulnerability has been assigned the entry, CVE-2012-1036, in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures list. For more information, including information about updates from DotNetNuke, see DotNetNuke Security Bulletin 59.

Mitigating Factors

  • Versions of DotNetNuke prior to 5.5.0 do not have access to the messaging component. Without access to the messaging component, an attacker would need access (and edit permissions) to an HTML module to successfully exploit the vulnerability and execute arbitrary code.
  • Sites that have removed the messaging component in DotNetNuke could be impacted less by this issue.
  • DotNetNuke uses the HTTPOnly attribute on authentication cookies. An attacker could cause arbitrary script to execute, but due to the HTTPOnly attribute, an attacker would be prevented from accessing authentication cookies through client-side script.
  • An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the current user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.

Advisory Details

Purpose and Recommendation

Purpose of Advisory: To notify users of a vulnerability and its remediation.

Advisory Status: Advisory published.

Recommendation: Review the Suggested Actions section and configure as appropriate.

Issue References

For more information about this issue, see the following references:

Reference Identification
Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures CVE-2012-1036

Affected and Non-Affected Software

This advisory discusses the following software:

Affected Software
DotNetNuke 6.0.2 and earlier versions
Non-Affected Software
DotNetNuke 6.1.x

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the scope of this advisory?
This advisory is part of a coordinated release with affected vendors to inform customers of a security issue that may affect their systems.

Is this a security vulnerability that requires Microsoft to issue a security update?
No. This vulnerability has been addressed via an update from the affected third-party vendors. The update remediates the software listed in the table, Affected Software.

What is the scope of the vulnerability?
This is an arbitrary script execution vulnerability.

What causes the vulnerability?
This issue is caused when DotNetNuke does not properly validate script information included in specially crafted HTML.

What might an attacker use this vulnerability to do?
An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the current user. If the user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

How could an attacker exploit the vulnerability?
In a message-based attack scenario, an attacker could create a specially crafted message that executes arbitrary script when read.

Suggested Actions

Upgrade to the latest version of DotNetNuke.

Other Information


Microsoft thanks the following:

  • Richard Lundeen of Microsoft and the DotNetNuke security team for working toward a resolution


The information provided in this advisory is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Microsoft disclaims all warranties, either express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. In no event shall Microsoft Corporation or its suppliers be liable for any damages whatsoever including direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, loss of business profits or special damages, even if Microsoft Corporation or its suppliers have been advised of the possibility of such damages. Some states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of liability for consequential or incidental damages so the foregoing limitation may not apply.


  • V1.0 (February 21, 2012): Advisory published.

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