CVE Vulnerabilities


Incorrect Authorization

Published: Jan 13, 2022 | Modified: Jan 24, 2022
CVSS 3.x
CVSS 2.x

Discourse is an open source discussion platform. Versions prior to 2.7.13 in stable, 2.8.0.beta11 in beta, and 2.8.0.beta11 in tests-passed allow some users to log in to a community before they should be able to do so. A user invited via email to a forum with must_approve_users enabled is going to be automatically logged in, bypassing the check that does not allow unapproved users to sign in. They will be able to do everything an approved user can do. If they logout, they cannot log back in. This issue is patched in the stable version 2.7.13, beta version 2.8.0.beta11, and tests-passed version 2.8.0.beta11. One may disable invites as a workaround. Administrators can increase min_trust_level_to_allow_invite to reduce the attack surface to more trusted users.


The software performs an authorization check when an actor attempts to access a resource or perform an action, but it does not correctly perform the check. This allows attackers to bypass intended access restrictions.

Affected Software

Name Vendor Start Version End Version
Discourse Discourse * *
Discourse Discourse 2.8.0 2.8.0
Discourse Discourse 2.8.0 2.8.0
Discourse Discourse 2.8.0 2.8.0
Discourse Discourse 2.8.0 2.8.0
Discourse Discourse 2.8.0 2.8.0
Discourse Discourse 2.8.0 2.8.0
Discourse Discourse 2.8.0 2.8.0
Discourse Discourse 2.8.0 2.8.0
Discourse Discourse 2.8.0 2.8.0
Discourse Discourse 2.8.0 2.8.0

Extended Description

Assuming a user with a given identity, authorization is the process of determining whether that user can access a given resource, based on the user’s privileges and any permissions or other access-control specifications that apply to the resource. When access control checks are incorrectly applied, users are able to access data or perform actions that they should not be allowed to perform. This can lead to a wide range of problems, including information exposures, denial of service, and arbitrary code execution.

Potential Mitigations

  • Divide the software into anonymous, normal, privileged, and administrative areas. Reduce the attack surface by carefully mapping roles with data and functionality. Use role-based access control (RBAC) [REF-229] to enforce the roles at the appropriate boundaries.
  • Note that this approach may not protect against horizontal authorization, i.e., it will not protect a user from attacking others with the same role.
  • Use a vetted library or framework that does not allow this weakness to occur or provides constructs that make this weakness easier to avoid.
  • For example, consider using authorization frameworks such as the JAAS Authorization Framework [REF-233] and the OWASP ESAPI Access Control feature [REF-45].
  • For web applications, make sure that the access control mechanism is enforced correctly at the server side on every page. Users should not be able to access any unauthorized functionality or information by simply requesting direct access to that page.
  • One way to do this is to ensure that all pages containing sensitive information are not cached, and that all such pages restrict access to requests that are accompanied by an active and authenticated session token associated with a user who has the required permissions to access that page.