Data Exposure in ServiceNow's Simple List Widget: Understanding the Risks and Solutions

In the last couple of days, an eye-opening article has surfaced, raising concerns about potential data leaks within ServiceNow, a platform widely used by businesses for IT service management. The article sheds light on a potential security threat, suggesting that data might be seeping through a widget employed in ServicePortal, creating cause for alarm among ServiceNow clients.

Understanding the Problem:

The problem centers around ServiceNow’s “Simple List” widget, a part of the Service Portal. This widget allows users to access data from ServiceNow records. While it can be a valuable asset, there’s a caveat – it can potentially expose sensitive data to unauthenticated users.

Not a Vulnerability but a Concern:

It’s essential to clarify that this issue is not a vulnerability or a zero-day exploit. ServiceNow is aware of the problem and has made efforts to mitigate the associated risks. Data can only be accessed if users are explicitly authorized based on access controls. However, misconfigurations can lead to unintended data exposure.

The Technical Analysis:

The Simple List Widget’s technical aspects play a crucial role in understanding the problem. The widget respects ServiceNow’s Access Control Lists (ACLs), which typically control data access. However, misconfigured ACLs can create vulnerabilities. This widget can allow unauthenticated users to query data from the system.

Example Payload:

					POST /api/now/sp/widget/widget-simple-list?t=incident HTTP/1.1
Cookie: glide_user_route=glide.2a12d7af3d7d455e312f7e86b22564e7; glide_node_id_for_js=634d231b1c48aefac83fc3383d156040cc484385b028f4b4edcea4c8e3d996c1; BIGipServerpool_ven04337=363f9ef47179748e8b0ebda002c7c371; JSESSIONID=D9D761781699C065ECE575DDF5363A00; __CJ_g_startTime=%221697203063167%22
Content-Type: application/json
Accept: application/json
Connection: close

An example payload reveals how unauthenticated users can exploit this issue by crafting requests to the Simple List Widget. This example highlights how data can be accessed without providing specific information, which is a cause for concern.

Identifying Exploitation Attempts:

To identify exploitation attempts and suspicious activities, organizations can monitor the Transaction Log. Creating a report can help in spotting potential threats and unauthorized access to sensitive data through the widget.

Mitigation and Remediation:

While addressing the root causes of the issue is crucial, some temporary mitigations can be applied:

  1. Inbound IP Address Restriction: Implement IP restrictions for inbound traffic to prevent public data exposure. This effectively blocks access to the widget from unknown sources.

  2. Disable Public Widgets: Unchecking the “Public” flag within a widget’s record prevents unauthorized users from accessing data. Ensure that essential roles are set on the widget record to avoid disrupting regular business usage.

  3. Secure ACLs with a Role: Assign a role not possessed by the ‘guest’ user to each ACL, improving data security. This can be done by creating a new role and mass-assigning it to all users except ‘guest.’

ServiceNow’s Response:

ServiceNow is actively investigating reports related to this issue. They have provided guidance on how to evaluate and address these concerns through their support knowledge base. This demonstrates their commitment to addressing the problem and helping customers secure their instances.


In the world of SaaS platforms, data security is a shared responsibility. This issue with ServiceNow’s Simple List Widget underscores the importance of not blindly trusting vendors. Organizations must take control of their data security and carefully review configurations. The safety of sensitive data stored in SaaS platforms should always be a top priority.

In conclusion, the ServiceNow data exposure issue serves as a reminder that cybersecurity vigilance is crucial in the digital era. By taking steps to understand, evaluate, and mitigate risks, organizations can enhance the security of their data in the cloud.


Original article here

ServiceNow support article here

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