Ruby on Rails security updates patch XSS, DoS vulnerabilities

The updates also strengthen the protection for a vulnerability patched in January

Ruby on Rails users are advised to upgrade to newly released versions of the Web development framework that contain important security fixes, according to the Rails development team.

The 3.2.16 Rails version released Tuesday addresses two cross-site scripting vulnerabilities and a denial-of-service issue and strengthens a previous patch for an unsafe query generation flaw.

The two cross-site scripting vulnerabilities, identified as CVE-2013-4491 and CVE-2013-6415, are located in the internationalization component and the number_to_currency helper, respectively. Both vulnerabilities allow an attacker to execute a cross-site scripting attack by sending specially crafted input to vulnerable applications.

The denial-of-service vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2013-6414, is located in the header handling component of Action View and allows an attacker to force an application to cache strings sent in specially crafted headers. This can cause the cache to grow indefinitely and consume all available memory on the server.

The other security issue patched is tracked as CVE-2013-6417 and can be used to bypass the patch released in January for an unsafe query generation issue identified as CVE-2013-0155. "The prior fix to CVE-2013-0155 was incomplete and the use of common 3rd party libraries can accidentally circumvent the protection," the Rails security team said.

The CVE-2013-0155 vulnerability itself is a variation of other two vulnerabilities, CVE-2012-2660 and CVE-2012-2694, that were patched in 2012, suggesting that this is a problem the Rails development team has been trying to fix for a while.

Rails version 4.0.2 was also released Tuesday and addresses the same vulnerabilities as the 3.2.16 version and an additional cross-side scripting flaw that only affects the 4.0 series. That vulnerability is identified as CVE-2013-6416 and is located in the simple_format helper.

The Ruby on Rails web application development framework has gained popularity among developers in recent years and is already being used on some very large websites including Hulu, Scribd, Kickstarter and GitHub.

Attackers have also shown interest in Rails. Back in May security researchers reported that a Rails vulnerability was being exploited to compromise servers and create a botnet.

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