Spring break! Critical vuln in Pivotal framework's Data parts plugged

Similar to Apache Struts flaw that stuffed Equifax


Pivotal Labs' Spring Data REST project has a serious security hole that needs patching.

Pivotal's Spring Framework is a popular platform for building web apps. Spring Data REST is a collection of additional components for devs to build Java applications that offer RESTful APIs to underlying Spring Data repositories. These interfaces are widely used.

The critically rated remote code execution vulnerability (CVE-2017-8046) was discovered by security researchers at Semmle, who went public with their findings last week. Pivotal issued a patch for a flaw it refers to as DATAREST-1127 as part of its Spring Boot 2.0 update.

Pivotal's advisory crediting Semmle/lgtm for uncovering the vulnerability came out in late September.

In response to queries from El Reg, lgtm.com chief exec Oege de Moor explained why researchers had delayed for months before going public with details of the vulnerability.

"We worked closely with Pivotal on the timeline for publishing the blog post. Due to the severity of the issue, Brian Dussault (the director of engineering for Pivotal) wanted to make sure all users of Spring Data REST had sufficient time to update. So the delay is due to the Semmle/lgtm team taking its responsibilities extremely seriously."

The fix is a candidate for early triage not least because the remote code execution vulnerability it addresses is similar to the weaknesses found in Apache Struts, which was determined as the root cause of the infamous Equifax breach.

The critical flaw affects various projects in Pivotal Spring. Left unresolved, it allows attackers to execute arbitrary commands on any machine that runs an application built using Spring Data REST.

RESTful APIs are commonly publicly accessible, creating a mechanism for hackers to easily gain control over production servers and obtain sensitive user data.

The vuln was found by security researcher Man Yue Mo at Semmle — the team behind the QL code inspection tool lgtm.

This vulnerability is caused by the way Spring's own expression language (SpEL) is used in the Data REST component. Unvalidated user input leads to an attacker being able to execute arbitrary commands on any machine that runs an application built using Spring Data REST. This vulnerability has been assigned CVE-2017-8046, and is referred to by Pivotal in their release notes as DATAREST-1127.

Pivotal's Spring Framework is a popular platform for building web applications. Spring Data REST is a collection of additional components for developers to build Java applications that offer RESTful APIs to underlying Spring Data repositories. These interfaces are widely used.

"Virtually every modern web application will contain components that communicate through REST interfaces, ranging from online travel booking systems, mobile applications and internet banking services," Semmle said.

The following Spring products and components are affected:

  • Spring Data REST components, versions prior to 2.5.12, 2.6.7, 3.0RC3
    • (Maven artifacts: spring-data-rest-core, spring-data-rest-webmvc, spring-data-rest-distribution, spring-data-rest-hal-browser)
  • Spring Boot, versions prior to 2.0.0M4
    • (when using the included Spring Data REST component: spring-boot-starter-data-rest)
  • Spring Data, versions prior to Kay-RC3

Users are strongly advised to upgrade to the latest versions of those components. ®

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • FTC urged to protect data privacy of women visiting abortion clinics
    As Supreme Court set to overturn Roe v Wade, safeguards on location info now more vital than ever

    Democrat senators have urged America's Federal Trade Commission to do something to protect the privacy of women after it emerged details of visits to abortion clinics were being sold by data brokers.

    Women's healthcare is an especially thorny issue right now after the Supreme Court voted in a leaked draft majority opinion to overturn Roe v Wade, a landmark ruling that declared women's rights to have an abortion are protected by the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution.

    If the nation's top judges indeed vote to strike down that 1973 decision, individual states, at least, can set their own laws governing women's reproductive rights. Thirteen states already have so-called "trigger laws" in place prohibiting abortions – mostly with exceptions in certain conditions, such as if the pregnancy or childbirth endangers the mother's life – that will go into effect if Roe v Wade is torn up. People living in those states would, in theory, have to travel to another state where abortion is legal to carry out the procedure lawfully, although laws are also planned to ban that.

    Continue reading
  • Zuckerberg sued for alleged role in Cambridge Analytica data-slurp scandal
    I can prove CEO was 'personally involved in Facebook’s failure to protect privacy', DC AG insists

    Cambridge Analytica is back to haunt Mark Zuckerberg: Washington DC's Attorney General filed a lawsuit today directly accusing the Meta CEO of personal involvement in the abuses that led to the data-slurping scandal. 

    DC AG Karl Racine filed [PDF] the civil suit on Monday morning, saying his office's investigations found ample evidence Zuck could be held responsible for that 2018 cluster-fsck. For those who've put it out of mind, UK-based Cambridge Analytica harvested tens of millions of people's info via a third-party Facebook app, revealing a – at best – somewhat slipshod handling of netizens' privacy by the US tech giant.

    That year, Racine sued Facebook, claiming the social network was well aware of the analytics firm's antics yet failed to do anything meaningful until the data harvesting was covered by mainstream media. Facebook repeatedly stymied document production attempts, Racine claimed, and the paperwork it eventually handed over painted a trail he said led directly to Zuck. 

    Continue reading
  • Florida's content-moderation law kept on ice, likely unconstitutional, court says
    So cool you're into free speech because that includes taking down misinformation

    While the US Supreme Court considers an emergency petition to reinstate a preliminary injunction against Texas' social media law HB 20, the US Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday partially upheld a similar injunction against Florida's social media law, SB 7072.

    Both Florida and Texas last year passed laws that impose content moderation restrictions, editorial disclosure obligations, and user-data access requirements on large online social networks. The Republican governors of both states justified the laws by claiming that social media sites have been trying to censor conservative voices, an allegation that has not been supported by evidence.

    Multiple studies addressing this issue say right-wing folk aren't being censored. They have found that social media sites try to take down or block misinformation, which researchers say is more common from right-leaning sources.

    Continue reading
  • US-APAC trade deal leaves out Taiwan, military defense not ruled out
    All fun and games until the chip factories are in the crosshairs

    US President Joe Biden has heralded an Indo-Pacific trade deal signed by several nations that do not include Taiwan. At the same time, Biden warned China that America would help defend Taiwan from attack; it is home to a critical slice of the global chip industry, after all. 

    The agreement, known as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), is still in its infancy, with today's announcement enabling the United States and the other 12 participating countries to begin negotiating "rules of the road that ensure [US businesses] can compete in the Indo-Pacific," the White House said. 

    Along with America, other IPEF signatories are Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Combined, the White House said, the 13 countries participating in the IPEF make up 40 percent of the global economy. 

    Continue reading
  • 381,000-plus Kubernetes API servers 'exposed to internet'
    Firewall isn't a made-up word from the Hackers movie, people

    A large number of servers running the Kubernetes API have been left exposed to the internet, which is not great: they're potentially vulnerable to abuse.

    Nonprofit security organization The Shadowserver Foundation recently scanned 454,729 systems hosting the popular open-source platform for managing and orchestrating containers, finding that more than 381,645 – or about 84 percent – are accessible via the internet to varying degrees thus providing a cracked door into a corporate network.

    "While this does not mean that these instances are fully open or vulnerable to an attack, it is likely that this level of access was not intended and these instances are an unnecessarily exposed attack surface," Shadowserver's team stressed in a write-up. "They also allow for information leakage on version and build."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022