PT-2013-14: XML External Entities Injection in PHP

(PT-2013-14) Positive Technologies Security Advisory
XML External Entities Injection in PHP

Vulnerable software

Version: 5.4.12/5.3.22 and earlier

Application link:

Severity level

Severity level: Medium
Impact: XML External Entities Injection (XXE)
Access Vector: Remote

CVSS v2:
Base Score: 5.0
Vector: (AV:N/AC:L/Au:N/C:P/I:N/A:N)

CVE: CVE-2013-1643

Software description

PHP is a widely-used general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for Web development and can be embedded into HTML.

Vulnerability description

The specialists of Positive Technologies have detected an "XXE" vulnerability in PHP.

The vulnerability was detected in the PHP's built-in SoapClient and SoapServer classes. PHP allows the use of external entities while parsing SOAP wsdl files which allows an attacker to read arbitrary files. If a web application unserializes user-supplied data and tries to execute any method of it, an attacker can send serialized SoapClient object initialized in non-wsdl mode which will make PHP to parse automatically remote XML-document specified in the "location" option parameter.

How to fix

Update your software up to the latest version.

Advisory status

07.02.2013 - Vendor gets vulnerability details
14.03.2013 - Vendor releases fixed version and details
19.03.2013 - Public disclosure


The vulnerability was discovered by Arseniy Reutov, Positive Research Center (Positive Technologies Company)


Reports on the vulnerabilities previously discovered by Positive Research:

About Positive Technologies

Positive Technologies is among the key players in the IT security market in Russia.

The principal activities of the company include the development of integrated tools for information security monitoring (MaxPatrol); providing IT security consulting services and technical support; development of the Securitylab leading Russian information security portal.

Among the clients of Positive Technologies, there are more than 40 state enterprises, more than 50 banks and financial organizations, 20 telecommunication companies, more than 40 plant facilities, as well as IT, service and retail companies from Russia, the CIS countries, the Baltic States, China, Ecuador, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Iran, Israel, Japan, Mexico, the Republic of South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, and the USA.

Positive Technologies is a team of highly skilled developers, advisers and experts with years of vast hands-on experience. The company specialists possess professional titles and certificates; they are the members of various international societies and are actively involved in the IT security field development.