Mass assignment is a feature of Rails which allows an application to create a record from the values of a hash.
Unfortunately, if there is a user field called
admin which controls administrator access, now any user can make themselves an administrator with a query like
Rails With Strong Parameters
In Rails 4 and newer, protection for mass assignment is on by default.
Query parameters must be explicitly whitelisted via
permit in order to be used in mass assignment:
Care should be taken to only whitelist values that are safe for a user (or attacker) to set. Foreign keys such as
account_id are likely unsafe, allowing an attacker to manipulate records belonging to other accounts.
Railroader will warn on potentially dangerous attributes that are whitelisted.
Railroader will also warn about uses of
params.permit!, since that allows everything.
Rails Without Strong Parameters
In older versions of Rails,
attr_protected can be used to limit mass assignment.
However, Railroader will warn unless
attr_accessible is used, or mass assignment is completely disabled.
There are two different mass assignment warnings which can arise. The first is when mass assignment actually occurs, such as the example above. This results in a warning like
Unprotected mass assignment near line 61: User.new(params[:user])
The other warning is raised whenever a model is found which does not use
attr_accessible. This produces generic warnings like
Mass assignment is not restricted using attr_accessible
with a list of affected models.
In Rails 3.1 and newer, mass assignment can easily be disabled:
config.active_record.whitelist_attributes = true
Unfortunately, it can also easily be bypassed:
User.new(params[:user], :without_protection => true)
Railroader will warn on uses of
Strong Parameters in Rails Security Guide
Mass Assignment in Rails Security Guide
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