CVE Vulnerabilities


Missing Authorization

Published: Jan 13, 2023 | Modified: Nov 07, 2023
CVSS 3.x
CVSS 2.x

Flarum is a discussion platform for websites. If the first post of a discussion is permanently deleted but the discussion stays visible, any actor who can view the discussion is able to create a new reply via the REST API, no matter the reply permission or lock status. This includes users that dont have a validated email. Guests cannot successfully create a reply because the API will fail with a 500 error when the user ID 0 is inserted into the database. This happens because when the first post of a discussion is permanently deleted, the first_post_id attribute of the discussion becomes null which causes access control to be skipped for all new replies. Flarum automatically makes discussions with zero comments invisible so an additional condition for this vulnerability is that the discussion must have at least one approved reply so that discussions.comment_count is still above zero after the post deletion. This can open the discussion to uncontrolled spam or just unintentional replies if users still had their tab open before the vulnerable discussion was locked and then post a reply when they shouldnt be able to. In combination with the email notification settings, this could also be used as a way to send unsolicited emails. Versions between v1.3.0 and v1.6.3 are impacted. The vulnerability has been fixed and published as flarum/core v1.6.3. All communities running Flarum should upgrade as soon as possible. There are no known workarounds.


The product does not perform an authorization check when an actor attempts to access a resource or perform an action.

Affected Software

Name Vendor Start Version End Version
Flarum Flarum 1.3.0 (including) 1.6.2 (excluding)

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 not 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 product 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.