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SPARTA Publications

All accepted publications from SPARTA partners under its funding.

Never Trust Your Victim: Weaponizing Vulnerabilities in Security Scanners

Andrea Valenza, Gabriele Costa, Alessandro Armando


The first step of every attack is reconnaissance, i.e., to acquire information about the target. A common belief is that there is almost no risk in scanning a target from a remote location. In this paper we falsify this belief by showing that scanners are exposed to the same risks as their targets. Our methodology is based on a novel attacker model where the scan author becomes the victim of a counter-strike. We developed a working prototype, called RevOK, and we applied it to 78 scanning systems. Out of them, 36 were found vulnerable to XSS. Remarkably, RevOK also found a severe vulnerability in Metasploit Pro, a mainstream penetration testing tool.

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