Teampass Unauthenticated SQL Injection


The next gift in our advent calendar reveals security issues in Teampass, a collaborative password manager first published in late 2011. We detected a critical unauthenticated SQL injection and many file inclusions which could have led to many leaked passwords and angry users. The issues were reported and fixed earlier this year.

RIPS Analysis

RIPS was able to analyze the whole project consisting of ~140,000 lines of code in only 25 seconds, uncovering a lot of severe security vulnerabilities. The two main types of issues was SQL injection and file inclusion. Luckily, most of the SQL injections were found in the installation / upgrade functionality and are less severe.

The truncated analysis results are available in our RIPS demo application. Please note that we limited the results to the issues described in this post in order to ensure a fix is available.

Case Study

Example 1: Authenticated Blind SQL Injection

This vulnerability is an excellent example of how RIPS is able to follow a complex data-flow and its understanding of PHPs unique features.



The code above is the main culprit of many vulnerabilities within this application. The function parse_str()1 parses a query string to variables such that, for example, the argument data=12&var=foo initializes the variables $data = 12 and $var = 'foo'. Here, the HTTP query string from the variable $_SERVER['QUERY_STRING'] is used as an input in line 28 which allows an attacker to create arbitrary variables for the application on a global scale. Then, the function rest_get() is called that creates a new object of class NestedTrees.


function rest_get() {
    $tree = new Tree\NestedTree\NestedTree(prefix_table("nested_tree"), 'id', 'parent_id', 'title');


class NestedTree {
    public function __construct($table, $idField, $parentField, $sortField) {
        $this->table = $table;


function prefix_table($table) {
    global $pre;
    $safeTable = htmlspecialchars($pre.$table);
    if (!empty($safeTable)) {
        return $safeTable;

Here, the table attribute is set to the result of the call to prefix_table("nested_tree") (see lines 235 and 33). Looking closely at the function definition one can see that the global variable $pre is prefixed to the table parameter of the function in line 1180. An attacker is now able to alter the contents of the global variable $pre and thus the table name via simple GET parameters because of the parse_str() call explained earlier. In addition, the usage of htmlspecialchars() is not sufficient enough to sanitize against SQL injections, although it would not have mattered in this particular case because there are no quotes that an attacker needs to break out of. RIPS detected the insufficient sanitization due to its context-sensitive taint analysis.


class NestedTree {
public function rebuild() {


class NestedTree {
public function getTreeWithChildren() {
    $query = sprintf('select %s from %s order by %s', join(',', $this->getFields()), $this->table, $this->fields['sort']);
    mysqli_query($link, $query);

In the end, the tainted table name is used unsanitized in the query executed by mysqli_query() and can be exploited to read arbitrary values from the database. Since Teampass is a password manager, there is very likely sensitive data found in the database.

Interestingly enough, we were not able to exploit the vulnerability because another SQL injection was triggered every time we changed the global variable $pre via the GET parameters. Luckily for us, the newly found SQL injection requires no authentication to be exploited and thus is even more critical. The following example of our case study describes the vulnerability.

Example 2: Unauthenticated Blind SQL Injection

The security issue in this example is very similar to the previous one, only that it is much easier to exploit because there is no authentication required. The following code lines are affected.




function rest_get () {
    if(apikey_checker($GLOBALS['apikey'])) {


function apikey_checker ($apikey_used) {
    $apikey_pool = teampass_get_keys();


function teampass_get_keys() {
    global $server, $user, $pass, $database, $link;
    $response = DB::queryOneColumn("value", "select * from ".prefix_table("api")." WHERE type = %s", "key");

As previously, the main culprit is the call to the parse_str() function, enabling an attacker to create arbitrary global variables. For every GET request to the API, the API key has to be checked for correctness using the apikey_checker() function. Here, same as before, the function prefix_table() prefixes the table name api using the global variable $pre and later executing the query with the queryOneColumn() method. The attacker is able to alter the pre variable and to select arbitrary data from the database without any requirements of authentication.

Example 3: File Inclusion

There is also an interesting file inclusion vulnerability using the same entry point as we saw in the examples before located in the following code lines. Many file inclusion operations in the application are similary affected and thus led to a high amount of valid issue reports.




function rest_get() {
    cryption($data['pw'], SALT, $data['pw_iv'], 'decrypt');


function cryption($p1, $p2, $p3, $p4 = null) {
    require_once $_SESSION['settings']['cpassman_dir'] . '/includes/libraries/Encryption/Encryption/Crypto.php';

Here, an attacker can set the variable $_SESSION['settings']['cpassman_dir'] via GET parameters using the parse_str() function and is thus able to include files unintended by the developer. Depending on the server configuration, it is possible to include arbitrary remote files, rendering this vulnerability highly critical. Luckily, the require_once statement is only accessible with an authenticated user and the constant DEFUSE_ENCRYPTION being true which is not the default value for the affected version.

Rescan of the fixed version

The diagram above depicts a consolidated statistic of the rescan of the updated version of Teampass ( As described in our previous post, RIPS compares the analysis results of both scans and is able to precisely identify fixed, old, and new issues inside the updated application version. As can be seen in this case, the new version fixed a lot of issues and only introduced one new XSS issue into the code base. You can click on the labels in the legend (Old, Fixed, New) in order to alter the display.

Time Line

2016/06/15First contact with vendor, initiated by vendor
2016/06/16Exchange of details about vulnerabilities
2016/06/27Vendor releases fixed version (changelog)


Password managers are very sensitive tools and even more fragile when they are deployed as a web application. We found many critical issues due to one PHP built-in function used improperly which is why the precise understanding of all security-relevant PHP functions is a core feature in our analysis engine. Looking at the amount of issues fixed by the vendor, the release time of the updated version was very fast and we want to thank the Teampass developers for their professional and quick cooperation!

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APAV Time Table

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15 Jan 2019Simon ScannellLearnings from WordPress Security Month
24 Dec 2016Johannes DahseWhat we learned from our Advent Calendar
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22 Dec 2016Daniel PeerenSecurity Compliance with Static Code Analysis
21 Dec 2016Martin BednorzAbanteCart 1.2.8 - Multiple SQL Injections
20 Dec 2016Martin BednorzKliqqi From Cross-Site Request Forgery to Code Execution
19 Dec 2016Robin PeraglieosClass 3.6.1: Remote Code Execution via Image File
18 Dec 2016Daniel PeerenContinuous Integration - Jenkins at your service
17 Dec 2016Johannes DahseOpenConf 5.30 - Multi-Step Remote Command Execution
16 Dec 2016Robin PeraglieRedaxo 5.2.0: Remote Code Execution via CSRF
15 Dec 2016Dennis DeteringGuest Post: Vtiger 6.5.0 - SQL Injection
14 Dec 2016Hendrik BuchwaldThe State of Wordpress Security
13 Dec 2016Johannes DahsephpBB 2.0.23 - From Variable Tampering to SQL Injection
12 Dec 2016Martin BednorzTeampass Unauthenticated SQL Injection
11 Dec 2016Daniel PeerenRescanning Applications with RIPS
10 Dec 2016Hendrik BuchwaldNon-Exploitable Security Issues
9 Dec 2016Hendrik BuchwaldPrecurio 2.1: Remote Command Execution via Xinha Plugin
8 Dec 2016Martin BednorzPHPKit 1.6.6: Code Execution for Privileged Users
7 Dec 2016Hendrik BuchwaldSerendipity 2.0.3: From File Upload to Code Execution
6 Dec 2016Robin PeraglieRoundcube 1.2.2: Command Execution via Email
5 Dec 2016Hendrik BuchwaldExpression Engine 3.4.2: Code Reuse Attack
4 Dec 2016Johannes DahseIntroducing the RIPS analysis engine
3 Dec 2016Martin BednorzeFront 3.6.15: Steal your professors password
2 Dec 2016Martin BednorzCoppermine 1.5.42: Second-Order Command Execution
1 Dec 2016Hendrik BuchwaldFreePBX 13: From Cross-Site Scripting to Remote Command Execution
25 Nov 2016Martin BednorzAnnouncing the Advent of PHP Application Vulnerabilities

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational purposes only. It is your responsibility to obey all applicable local, state and federal laws. RIPS Technologies GmbH assumes no liability and is not responsible for any misuse or damages caused by direct or indirect use of the information provided.

Tags: martin bednorz, php, security, teampass, sql injection, file inclusion, rescan,

Author: Martin Bednorz

CTO, Co-Founder

Martin has 10 years of working experience as a lead web application developer. He graduated in IT security at the Ruhr-University Bochum and is conducting research on state-of-the-art code analysis and web technologies. His security background is supplemented by practical development and project management expertise.

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