usd-2020-0041 | Concrete5 v8.5.2

Advisory ID: usd-2020-0041
CVE Number: CVE-2020-11476
Affected Product: Concrete5 CMS
Affected Version: 8.5.2
Vulnerability Type: Unrestricted Upload of File with Dangerous Type
Security Risk: High
Vendor URL:
Vendor Status: Fixed in 8.5.3


The web application „concrete5“ is vulnerable to remote code execution. An attacker can define uploadable filetypes in the admin area. The application blocks uploads with file extensions like php and phtml but not phar, php8, shtml, cgi, pl, phpsh, pht and .htaccess.
It is for instance possible for an attacker to upload phar files and access them via the browser after some configuration settings in the admin area. This file extension is interpreted as PHP code by many web servers, which allows code execution.

It is possible for an authenticated admin to specify the uploadable file formats in the „Allowed File Types“ section under the URL http://localhost/index.php/dashboard/system/files/filetypes. According to the page, the following file extensions are blocked:

These file extensions will always be blocked: php, php2, php3, php4, php5, php7, phtml

However there are other file formats that are interpreted as PHP by many web servers. One of these file extensions is .phar. After adding this file extension, it is possible to upload .phar files in the upload section, which are stored on the web server. If an attacker accesses the uploaded file via his browser, this file is interpreted as php and allows code execution.

Proof of Concept (PoC)

First visit the section „Allowed file types“ under the URL http://localhost/index.php/dashboard/system/files/filetype. The .phar format must be added to the list there.

Create a new file shell.phar with the following contents:

Afterwards visit the following page: http://localhost/concrete5/index.php/dashboard/files/search.
On this page it is possible to upload new files and get information about already uploaded files.

Next step is to upload the created file shell.phar. After the successful upload of the file it is possible to view the URL of the file. On the same page it is possible to search for the file name shell.phar in the file search bar. By right-clicking on the file and selecting „Properties“ you can get the path where the file was saved. The following information would then be displayed:

Filename 	shell.phar
URL to File	http://localhost/application/files/4015/8558/7320/shell.phar
Tracked URL	http://localhost/concrete5/index.php/download_file/21/0
Folder		File Manager

The attacker can now visit the received URL and enter system commands in the cmd GET parameter which should be executed on the system. The visiting the following URL would execute the system command „whoami“: http://localhost/application/files/4015/8558/7320/shell.phar?cmd=whoami


Although it is possible to add the file extension .phar to the concrete.upload.extensions_blacklist this would only be a temporary solution. There are many other file extensions which some web servers interpret as PHP code. It is more difficult to cover all file extensions with a blacklist than to build a whitelist of possible file formats. It would make sense to introduce a concrete.upload.extensions_whitelist which is defined in the code. This way, a user who already has access to the system can modify it. The section „Allowed File Types“ should not allow a user to modify the allowed file formats, it should only display uploadable formats.



This security vulnerability was found by Gerbert Roitburd of usd AG.


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The information provided in this security advisory is provided „as is“ and without warranty of any kind. Details of this security advisory may be updated in order to provide as accurate information as possible.