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Tripod account hijack risk patched

'No-brainer' security hole

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Lycos has patched a gaping security hole with its Tripod homepage service which would have allowed crackers to bypass authentication checks and control a victim's homepage.

Security consultants Interrorem discovered it was possible to hijack a user's account by manipulating a URL string.

Russ Spooner, a consultant at Interrorem, said it discovered the security breach while researching online authentication. The problem arose because Tripod performs registration in steps. When users get to the activation page the service does not check whether a password ordering an action had previously been submitted.

"Exploiting the vulnerability was a 'no-brainer' and from then on you could do anything you wanted," Spooner told us.

Given the severity of the hole and ease of exploitation it would have been possible for mass defacements of home users' web pages, and, maybe, the extraction of private data from files stored in their web space, cgi and email, according to Interrorem.

It reckons a script could been manufactured to mass delete/deface all tripod homepages.

Lycos responded rapidly when it was alerted to the flaw by Interrorem - the authentication system was repaired within the day.

Don Kosak, director of engineering for portal services at TerraLycos, said the exploit was blocked on Tuesday night and a full fix released on Wednesday morning.

Only the US version of the Tripod service was vulnerable to the exploit, he added. According to Lycos, member email was not exposed through this exploit.

Tripod is one of the world's largest homepage providers to home users with many millions of subscribers. ®

External links

Tripod account hijack advisory by Interrorem

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