How I accessed the Sensitive document which I had already deleted

Hello All, this is my third writeup. I have already published two writeups which are How I was able to access a properly Configured S3 Bucket and My First Pre-Auth Account Takeover in 20 secs. Do check them out if you haven’t read them.

So, Let’s Begin!!!

Data Leak

Data” is very hot topic when it comes to security. There is always a debate on how companies store and handle “Customer Data”. To solve this debate, various compliances and regulations came into picture. This writeup focuses on how important it is to handle the sensitive data and how important it is to dispose it with care.

Please note: The domain and other details have been masked for Confidentiality Purpose.

I came across an application where it had an option of uploading documents for KYC. Aadhar Card, PAN Card, Driving License and Passport were the documents that can uploaded on the website. There documents are “Sensitive” in nature and utmost care must be taken while handling them.

I tried a few attacks to compromise the website but couldn’t succeed. So, I though let’s try to play with data. Let’s analyze how the PII data is being handled by the website.

I tried uploading a dummy image and captured the request. The request looked like this:

Once the image got uploaded, the server returned a success response with the link of the uploaded image. It is shown in the screenshot below.

Here, I noticed something strange. The image was getting uploaded on some S3 bucket and it had a few Amazon headers. Take a note of file name. It starts with “022eae” and ends with “fd55”. I tried accessing URL (Just the URL as highlighted in the above screenshot).


The document was accessible publicly. Imagine if some one might have uploaded their “Passport” or “Other Sensitive” document 😉.

In the frontend it showed me the uploaded document. Then, I thought, lets try to delete the document and check whether it gets deleted from the UI only or gets deleted from the server as well. I captured the delete request and it looked like this:

The uploaded image had “Document ID” associated with it. I forwarded the request and waited for the response. The response is shown in the below screenshot. Notice the file name of the deleted file. It is the same file which was uploaded (Starting with “022eae” and ending with “fd55”).

This was clear enough that we have successfully deleted the uploaded document. But wait!!!!!

Coming to the question whether it was deleted only on the UI or from the server as well. I tried pasting the entire URL of the uploaded document again to check whether it was deleted from the server.

Guess What! The document was still present on the server. It only disappeared from the front end. It’s the same document which started with “022eae” and ending with “fd55”) and publicly accessible.

Business impact: It is a privacy violation wherein user thinks that he has deleted the document, but the document is still available in the S3 bucket and it is accessible without authentication. It is a privacy compromise of the user.

Golden Tip: Make sure to keep yourself updated. This thing would not have struck my mind if I hadn’t read about some compliance stuff online. Everything is vulnerable, you just need some knowledge to find the vulnerable point.

That’s it for this writeup.

Happy Testing!

Make sure you say a “Hi” to me if I could be of some help!

Twitter: @heybenchmarkkk

LinkedIn: Pawan Chhabria

a.k.a Benchmarkkk | Security Enthusiast| Web | Android | API |Top OnePlus Hacker 2019–2020 | Google Hall of Fame