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SpiderLabs Blog

Hardcoded Credentials in Uniguest Kiosk Software Lead to API Compromise

If you've traveled at all within North America, you've likely at some point noticed or even used the shared kiosk machines available in hotel lobbies. These are typically running a locked-down version of Windows, and chances are they are managed by Uniguest software.

While providing some security consulting for a customer, I had the opportunity to do some research on one of these kiosks and discovered some serious vulnerabilities in a legacy unit that exposed credentials to the Uniguest Salesforce backend. Now that these vulnerabilities have gone through our responsible disclosure process and fixed by Uniguest, we can discuss the technical details.

Uniguest kiosk software will restrict the user to simple tasks, such as browsing the web or printing boarding passes. Uniguest software can be found in other industries, not just hospitality:

"Uniguest is the global leader in providing highly secure, fully managed customer-facing technology solutions on an outsourced basis to the hospitality, senior living, specialty retail, education, and corporate sectors. Our suite of turnkey consumer-facing technology solutions includes hardware and software solution packages, system implementation, and 24/7/365 multi-lingual support for public space kiosks, purpose-built kiosks (PC, iMac, tablet), digital signs, tablets, remote printing and more – all designed to deliver a consistent and safe experience to our clients’ customers."

Based on the way their infrastructure setup, it appears Uniguest manages the machines and not the hotel or whatever other business employs Uniguest software.

With a quick Google search, I noticed that Uniguest had exposed a website publicly ( which appeared to contain all the tools their technicians would need to deploy or manage a kiosk on location:


There was no authentication required, and among the pre-packaged kiosk software and manuals, SystemSleuth stood out. SystemSleuth is written in C# and is therefore trivially decompiled back to source code using something like dnSpy.

Static Analysis

SystemSleuth is an application that is deployed to their legacy kiosks, and its purpose appears to be the collection of kiosk (asset) information such as product keys, asset tags, passwords, and various other data. The data is sent up to a Salesforce API, and of course, with the C# decompiler, it didn't take long to find the API credentials, hardcoded within the application:


The Salesforce API is accessible via the SOAP protocol, and we can use the open-source SoapUI tool to run some test queries.

First, we need a session ID issued by authenticating to the Salesforce SOAP API. The server responds with a session key which we can use in subsequent requests:


We can now dump all the data in the Uniguest cloud database, which includes admin, router and BIOS passwords, product keys and various other sensitive information, for what looked like all of Uniguest's customers.


With this information in hand, adversaries could deploy keyloggers, remote access trojans, and various other forms of malware, attacking hotel guests or business patrons just passing through.

Uniguest has been contacted and have since placed the site behind an authentication portal, but it's important to remember that SystemSleuth and the API credentials (albeit disabled) may still be found on their managed systems until Uniguest can go and reimage them all.

Locking down a Windows machine enough that it can be trusted in a public setting such as a hotel lobby, is a daunting task. Restrictions imposed by Active Directory Group Policy Objects (AD GPOs) or custom Explorer shells are often trivial to bypass, giving attackers access to the whole system.

The following is an example of a successful sandbox escape in one of Uniguest's kiosks, revealing SystemSleuth.exe on the disk, ready to be exfiltrated and analyzed:


Additional Findings

Following our responsible disclosure policy, these issues were reported to Uniguest, who was quick in their response. However, after I went back to verify their fixes, I found more issues.

An older version of the SystemSleuth binary referenced a different account for the Salesforce API and also contained a reference to an open API used to gather asset inventory data.


The assetbyid.php and assetbyserial.php tools ( and also exist and allow query by asset ID or serial number. Serial or Asset ID may be printed on the kiosk and could also be somewhere in the system info (hostname, or system data stored in WMI). These values could also be guessed through brute-forcing but may be more difficult to do so without some knowledge of how the values are generated in the first place.

An unauthenticated GET request to this open API using an asset ID returns information to the public:


Lessons Learned

If you're thinking about using a SystemSleuth-like application in your deployments, don't, but if you insist, consider the following tweaks:

  • Use a write-only API key
  • Deploy per-customer databases
  • Do NOT reuse API keys or credentials between customer deployments

Developers may consider a code obfuscator for .NET like ConfuserEx in an attempt to secure their C# binary. I advise against this move as it does not stop attackers, but merely slow them down. Sometimes not even by that much.

I should also note that while the amazing dnSpy made analysis a breeze in this instance, hardcoding credentials in a native C++ application would lead to the same outcome. Obfuscating source code or the binary would not stop a determined attacker.

For most threat models, The best solution is to never hardcode sensitive information in applications. But, of course, your situation may be different.

A potential alternative to SystemSleuth and the API is to manage these assets using something like Microsoft's Intune and segregating these environments on a per-customer basis.

Intune has a Kiosk feature, which may work better than custom GPOs and Explorer shells.

There are certainly more secure ways to manage Windows assets, but they may come at an increased cost to businesses. The simple answer is to dispose of applications like SystemSleuth and the Salesforce API. This may sound like an expensive endeavor, but a compromise of all client data and machines could be much more impactful to the bottom-line than any IT project.

Disclosure Process

Uniguest worked closely with the Trustwave Advisory Team throughout the process both during the first findings and with the second round of findings. Uniguest was very communicative and open to all findings. They've remediated the issues by deprecating the SystemSleuth application as well as removing access to the embedded credentials. However, they do not believe the open "Connect" API is a vulnerability as “The information returned by this API is publicly available information that does not contain any PII data.”

All software has vulnerabilities to a greater or lesser degree. A good judge of the security posture of any vendor is not if there are vulnerabilities are found in their products, but how quickly and seriously the vendor addresses those vulnerabilities. It will come as no surprise for anyone that has worked with responsible disclosure that many vendors respond to vulnerability notifications from third-party researchers like Trustwave with either silence or with even open hostility. Compared to other vendors, Uniguest was a pleasure to work with during the disclosure process. They took the reports seriously, worked hard to address the issues on legacy products, and had have taken steps like incorporating application and physical penetration testing to their product development lifecycle.

Disclosure Timeline

  • 2018-12-06 – Initial communication to Uniguest regarding findings
  • 2019-02-08 - Uniguest investigates the issue internally
  • 2019-03-18 - Uniguest responds with remediation steps taken
  • 2019-03-25 - Remediation confirmed not complete and reported back to Uniguest
  • 2019-04-11 - Additional findings reported to Uniguest
  • 2019-04-30 - Uniguest responds with remediation steps taken
  • 2019-04-30 - Additional issues confirmed to still be present
  • 2019-06-11 - Uniguest remediates original and additional findings, but will leave the open API accessible
  • 2019-07-11 - Advisory published

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