Great, you use CA SiteMinder, but you broke it!

CA SiteMinder is a secure Single Sign-On (SSO) and Web access management product that is used to authenticate users and control access to web applications and portals. Your company may be considering purchasing SiteMinder or a similar product, or may have already deployed a solution like SiteMinder in your environment.

Out of the box, CA SiteMinder can prevent some of the typical OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities. These include SQL Injection and Cross-site scripting (XSS). I worked with it a few years ago in my previous job and it worked well,.  That is until the developers got involved. Their business requirements had them pass full SQL statements from the browser to their application. Additionally, many of them think they needed to also pass in the “” to the Web application. We had to tweak CA SiteMinder to allow these types of requests. As you may have guessed, their application was now potentially vulnerable to SQL Injection and XSS.

These dangerous configurations also make some of CA SiteMinder’s standard web pages vulnerable to XSS. CA SiteMinder comes with some standard web pages and executables that you can use in your Web application. These include loginandregister-dms.fcc, loginandregisterwithforgottenpassword-dms.fcc, login.fcc and smpwservicescgi.exe. By not allowing CA SiteMinder to stop the XSS attacks, these Web pages also become vulnerable.

NetSPI has performed application penetration tests in the last few months where the applications were using CA SiteMinder. The applications we were testing were vulnerable to XSS; both the application itself and the CA SiteMinder files. SiteMinder is intended to reduce risk, not expand it.

These vulnerabilities could have been prevented by not configuring CA SiteMinder so it does not block XSS. Do not allow the developers to dictate that the security be weakened; work with them and reduce their requests to the most basic requirements and figure out how to securely deliver what they need. Remember, security and development should be partners, not bitter rivals. You want multiple layers of prevention, so if your application is vulnerable, CA SiteMinder will prevent the vulnerability from being exploited.

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