some-image here

Escalating Self-XSS To Stored XSS via Image injection + IDOR

Hello everyone, I hope you guys are doing good. In this article i am going to share how i found a self-stored xss and how i escalated it to organization takeover by chaining it with image injection and IDOR. We all know about XSS and IDOR but what is Image Injection? Few days ago i saw this tweet where Fisher asked about Image Injection Vulnerability and people are telling in replies that loading images in texts intended field or loading images using <img> tag is known as Image injection vulnerability. I also replied to that tweet as i found this chain of bugs few days before that tweet. Last night a friend of mine texted me link of that tweet and asked me to explain that to him. So that's when i realized this chain of bugs deserved a write-up. So lets get to the main story now.

First let me put some light on Image Injection Vulnerability. I did some google and found out vulnerabilities that occurs via images metadata are known as Image injection vulnerabilities. For example putting XSS payload inside a valid image or putting php payloads. But what i mean by Image Injection in this article is that i can load an external image using <img> tag like this:

		<img src="">

But that look like a html injection? Yes it does look like html injection but i wasn't allowed to use html, only few tags like <img> , <a> and <br> tags are allowed for some reasons.

The program i was hacking on was an Employees Management system where you can manage employees of your own organization, create tasks , groups for them. Employees can follow each other, they can even follow employees of other organizations too. Followers can send messages each other and will be able to see posts of each other , they can comment and like those posts just like Facebook.

Admins and Managers can create tasks and then assign them to different employees. You can create custom tasks from scratch but there was some pre-built templates for creating tasks which already have some good UI/theme and some basic info about the task you're creating. For example, you can choose a pre-built template task which will already have some keys points about the task, already have some widgets added to it. You can also add a small sticky note inside the task. When i came across these templates i didn't notice this sticky note option because it was hidden inside a drop down menu of More options. There was two fields of sticky note which were "title and description". The title field was vulnerable to stored xss. I simply added this xss payload "><svg/onload=alert(1)> in the title field of sticky note and added it inside my task. Upon saving and opening the created task the xss was firing. But the problem was that it was self-stored xss or xss from Admin to Employees which would be low or informational.

We got a self-stored xss and the next step is escalating it to a stored xss. I tried adding employees from other organization via IDOR but it didn't work. I cannot share my created tasks outside of my organization, i tried accessing tasks of first organization from my second organization directly via url but i got 403. I also tried CSRF but couldn't successed. So i was stuck here, i tried everything i could but couldn't find a way out. I left that xss there and move onto testing next templates as we have different options inside different templates. I created few more tasks from different templates and assign them to my employees. I couldn't find anything else there other than self-stored xss. I signed into my employees account and there i saw assigned tasks which i created and assigned to that employee. The employee can mark that task completed and then that task will move to completed state. I marked that task and few more task completed and move onto testing other features from employee account.

After sometime i logged back into admin account and went to task page, there i saw an option which wasn't available before. I saw an option of "List all completed task" which means i can list all the completed tasks from all the employees and check their progress and comments etc. When i clicked on that option a new page opened and the URL was new to me. There was a 6 digits ID in the URL, i quickly opened that URL from my second account which belongs to different organization and i was able to see the completed tasks of my first account. I changed the ID from the URL and i was able to see the completed task of other users (it was a pentesting environment so there was no data of real users).

Here we can also see the task which have sticky note with xss payload (remember that? :p). Now we can add a sticky note with xss payload inside a task and assign it to an employee. We can mark that task completed from that employee account then that task will be available in completed tasks lists. Then we can send the URL of completed task list to our victim which would be an admin of another organization, he will be able to see our completed task list and in that list there will be only one completed task. That task have a sticky note with xss payload inside it. So when our victim will open that task the xss will fire on its side. Finally we are able to escalate self-stored xss to stored xss but there is one problem left which is that this xss is working like reflected xss. We have to send a URL of our completed task list to our victim like we do in reflected xss. I was actually going for bugcrowd MVP so i need a p2 for that.

As i have mentioned that users can upload post on their profile and that will be available to their followers. Users from different organizations can follow each other and can see each other posts. I tested post features for xss but couldn't find it but i came to know that the website is allowing <img> , <a> and few other html tags like line breaks, bold, italic etc.
This is where the Image injection vulnerability comes in. I can put URL of my completed task list behind an image and post it on my profile. My followers will be able to see that image and when they will click on it they will be taken to my completed task list where they will see my completed task, an upon opening any task the xss will fire because there will be sticky note with xss payload inside every task:


This is how we will add completed task list URL behind an image:a

	<a href=""><img src=""></a>

And this is how it will looks


Everything looks perfect but now we need an exploit for adding our account with admin privileges into victim organization. This is where Neloex come into this story. He is a good friends who alaways helps me in exploitation. So he wrote an exploit which we need to host on our server:

function getCsrf() {
    xhr = new XMLHttpRequest();'GET', '', true);
    xhr.responseType = 'document';
    xhr.onload = function () {
        if (this.readyState === XMLHttpRequest.DONE && this.status === 200) {
          var doc = xhr.responseXML;
          csrf = doc.querySelector('meta[name="csrf-token"]').content

function addAdmin(csrfToken){
    method: 'POST',
    headers: {
        'Content-Length': '329', 
        'Cache-Control': 'max-age=0', 
        'Sec-Ch-Ua': '" Not A;Brand";v="99", "Chromium";v="92"', 
        'Sec-Ch-Ua-Mobile': '?0', 
        'Upgrade-Insecure-Requests': '1', 
        'Origin': '', 
        'Content-Type': 'application/x-www-form-urlencoded', 
        'User-Agent': 'Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/92.0.4483.0 Safari/537.36 autochrome/blue', 
        'Accept': 'text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,image/avif,image/webp,image/apng,*/*;q=0.8,application/signed-exchange;v=b3;q=0.9', 
        'Sec-Fetch-Site': 'same-origin', 
        'Sec-Fetch-Mode': 'navigate', 
        'Sec-Fetch-User': '?1', 
        'Sec-Fetch-Dest': 'document', 
        'Referer': '', 
        'Accept-Encoding': 'gzip, deflate', 
        'Accept-Language': 'en-US,en;q=0.9', 
        'Connection': 'close'
    credentials: 'include',



This exploit will steal CSRF tokens of the victim then use those tokens to make a request from victim browser for adding new account as an admin. We will receieve an account activation link on our email address and we can use that to login into victim orgainzation as an admin.

Now comes the part which i hate most but also spend alot of time on it which is writing a good report. So tried to write a good report with gif and pictures. And the triagger triaged this report as p3, my all hard work went in vain. He disagreed with me on the severity so i asked him to confirm it from the program owner which he did by creating a blocker for the program owner. Program owner asked to add my account to his organization with admin privileges. So i simply asked him to open my profile and click on the image i have shared and after that open any task from the list. When i woke up in the morning i saw an email with 500$ bounty and the severity upgraded to p2 and a nice comment from the program owner.

That's it, thank you for reading it. If you have any confusion you can reach me on my Twitter See you in the next article.