Open Chat Conversations in Halebop Support (Fixed)

by Peter Jaric

5 months ago I discovered that the Swedish telecom operator Halebop (a TeliaSonera operated brand) had a big problem in its support chat.

After ending a support session, the customer could access the log of the session for later reference via an URL on the form:[id]&_sid=[sid]

It turned out that the _sid parameter didn’t matter, and that it was possible to access other customers’ logs by changing the id parameter. This is called an Insecure Direct Object Reference in the OWASP Top Ten (thanks @avlidienbrunn). The id number I was looking at was higher than 2,500,000, which indicated that there could have been more than two and a half million support chat logs with potentially sensitive customer data open for anyone to read.

I asked on Twitter if anyone had a security contact at Halebop and got help almost immediately from @ilektrojohn, who knew someone on the inside. I mailed a report and it was forwarded to the incidence report team (IRT), since the contact at TeliaSonera I got in touch with was not working with this. I never got any response directly from the IRT, but was told by my contact that:

the official response was: “we do not encourage this sort of activity”


Before publishing this post I wanted to make sure that the vulnerability was fixed so I tried to access a support log and was rejected, as expected. But fortunately I did not remember to close the tab afterwards.

The next day, when I was doing some work from home and needed to use BURP (my proxy tool of choice) for once (I am a developer, not a security guy) I happened to notice something strange in the History tab. It looked like a support conversation! And it was.

Apparently the chat page used AJAX to update the current conversation at regular intervals, and it did this even though I was not allowed to see it on the page. My guess is that when they fixed the original vulnerability, they only did it at one place in the view layer, and not deeper down.

Naturally I had to report this flaw too, but this time my original contact was not available. Instead I asked Telia at Twitter for help. One week later the security team contacted me and this time they told me:

Thank you for taking the effort of finding and reporting this issue.

That’s what I want to hear!