A short tale of Account verification bypass

Jan 27, 2019 · 2 min read

Hi folks, This is Satyendra an occasionally bug hunter by mood. I think the time is most important and coming up to the point without wasting your time.
So, once I was testing a private program in the hope to get some bucks for coffee. I saw scopes of the program and collected some subdomains etc etc..and started with the main domain.
Well, I visited the main domain and scrolled the whole page for checking which types of shits the main page having and I found 2 action buttons login and signup + an email newsletter and some company info blah blah blah…

I decided to explore more and clicked on the signup button to create an account and after entering all the required details I submit the signup form and got a popup to verify email and I said, ok boss, let me verify.
I opened the mailbox and copy the verification link because of that time I was wondering about what kind of information is contained by the link. I was looking closely into the verification link which had a parameter and contained some code string like xxx.yyy.zzz, I decided to know about this encoding and started digging deeper about the encoding in Google.

Finally, I got the clue about the string that is a JWT means JSON WEB TOKEN.

According to Google —
JSON Web Token (JWT) is an open standard (RFC 7519) that defines a compact and self-contained way for securely transmitting information between parties as a JSON object. This information can be verified and trusted because it is digitally signed.

My next target was to crack the encoding and simply I googled JWT found a web application in the first result of google. https://jwt.io/ which is basically used for JWT decoding.


Here common sense comes into play — I pasted my JWT code into jwt.io and the result was something look like -
blah blah blah……
“name”: “yourname”,
blah blah blah…….

Simply I went for new signup and again I got a new verification email but this time I didn’t verify email simply I changed email ID in the previous JWT in jwt.io and copied the new generated JWT from jwt.io

I used that crafted JWT in the verification parameter and hit enter the result was nice! successfully bypassed verification because of the server was not validating JWT correctly with signature and server only validate to the email encoded in the JWT.

Keypoint —
Always analyze encodings and encryptions and try to understand the implemented mechanism.

Hope you guys learn something from this writeup.
Happy Hacking
Thank You :)

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