Ruby on Rails Static Analysis Security Tool


Unvalidated redirects and forwards are #10 on the OWASP Top Ten.

Redirects which rely on user-supplied values can be used to “spoof” websites or hide malicious links in otherwise harmless-looking URLs. They can also allow access to restricted areas of a site if the destination is not validated.

Brakeman will raise warnings whenever redirect_to appears to be used with a user-supplied value that may allow them to change the :host option.

For example,

redirect_to params.merge(:action => :home)

will create a warning like

Possible unprotected redirect near line 46: redirect_to(params)

This is because params could contain :host => '' which would redirect away from your site and to a malicious site.

If the first argument to redirect_to is a hash, then adding :only_path => true will limit the redirect to the current host. Another option is to specify the host explicitly.

redirect_to params.merge(:only_path => true)

redirect_to params.merge(:host => '')

If the first argument is a string, then it is possible to parse the string and extract the path:

redirect_to URI.parse(some_url).path

If the URL does not contain a protocol (e.g., http://), then you will probably get unexpected results, as redirect_to will prepend the current host name and a protocol.

Rails 7 Updates

If config.action_controller.raise_on_open_redirects is true (default for new Rails 7.0 applications), then Rails will not allow redirecting to a domain that differs from the request.

Even if the configuration setting is not true, the protection can be applied by setting allow_other_host: false explicitly:

redirect_to params[:url], allow_other_host: false

The code above will raise an exception if params[:url] does not match the current domain.

Brakeman will warn about calls where allow_other_host is set to true.

To coerce the URL to be “safe”, use url_from:

redirect_to url_from(params[:url])

If the URL is does not match the current domain, then url_from returns false. The recommended pattern is to provide a fallback:

redirect_to url_from(params[:url]) || some_safe_default_url

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