Ruby on Rails security glitch puts thousands of websites at risk


The discovery of a Ruby on Rails (RoR) security vulnerability could put hundreds of thousands of websites across the globe at risk of getting hacked, it has been claimed.

According to a security advisory posted to a RoR security discussion list, "multiple weaknesses" have been found in parts of the framework's coding, which could allow hackers to compromise websites that use the platform.

It is claimed that more than 240,000 websites use RoR.

"There are multiple weaknesses in the parameter parsing code for Ruby on Rails which allows attackers to bypass authentication systems, inject arbitrary SQL...and execute arbitrary code or perform a denial of service attack on a Rails application," the advisory states.

All versions of RoR are reportedly affected by the glitch, which security researchers claim means any apps or websites based on the framework could potentially be at risk of attack.

"Due to the critical nature of this vulnerability, and the fact portions of it have been disclosed publicly, all users running an affected release should either upgrade or use one of the workarounds immediately," the statement added.

A list of the available workarounds is available here.

In a blog post, HD Moore, chief security officer at security vendor Rapid7, said the vulnerability could put "thousands" of production websites at risk of remote compromise.

"These kinds of bugs are close to my heart, as [this site] is written in Ruby," he wrote.

"We marshaled the troops and released a security update for users, updated all of our own applications with the workaround," Moore added.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.