Jackson-databind RCE Vulnerability Handling Guide (CVE-2017-17485)

Jackson-databind RCE Vulnerability Handling Guide (CVE-2017-17485)

January 25, 2018 | Adeline Zhang

At the beginning of 2018, jackson-databind was reported to contain another remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability (CVE-2017-17485) that affects versions 2.9.3 and earlier, and earlier, and 2.8.10 and earlier. This vulnerability is caused by jackson-dababind’s incomplete blacklist. An application that uses jackson-databind will become vulnerable when the enableDefaultTyping method is called via the ObjectMapper object within the application. An attacker can thus compromise the application by sending maliciously crafted JSON input to gain direct control over a server. Currently, a proof of concept (POC) exploit for this vulnerability has been publicly available. All users who are affected by this vulnerability should upgrade to the latest versions as soon as possible to fix this issue.

Impact of the CVE-2017-17485 Vulnerability

  • Affected Versions

Jackson-databind version <= 2.9.3

Jackson-databind version <=

Jackson-databind version <= 2.8.10

  • Unaffected Versions

Jackson-databind version

Jackson-databind version

Jackson-databind version 2.8.11

How to Detect the CVE-2017-17485 Vulnerability

If the enableDefaultTyping method is called via the ObjectMapper object within an application that uses the jackson-databind component, this application will become vulnerable. Developers are advised to check whether the jackson-databind component is used in applications, and if so, to further check its version number and whether the enableDefaultTyping method is called in the code. The following uses the Maven project as an example to show how to check the use of jackson-databind.

  1. Check whether jackson-databind is included in pom.xml and, if so, whether its version is earlier than 2.9.3.
  2. If the answers to the preceding two questions are both “Yes”, check whether the enableDefaultTyping method is called in the code. If so, it is recommended that the component be upgraded immediately and the web application be restarted.

How to Protect Against the CVE-2017-17485 Vulnerability

(1) Official Fix

The vendor has released new versions to fix this vulnerability by expanding the blacklist. Affected users are advised to upgrade to the latest versions as soon as possible.

The new major version (3.x) of jackson-databind will address this issue via a new API layer that provides a way to achieve whitelisting-based serialization for these polymorph classes.

(2) Use of Security Products

  • Custom Rule

For immediate protection against the jackson-databind RCE vulnerability and reduction of any loss from possible exploitation of this vulnerability, we recommend that customers who have deployed NSFOCUS Web Application Firewall (WAF) configure the following custom rule before an official protection rule is provided:

(uri * rco   .*org\.springframework\.context\.support\.FileSystemXmlApplicationContext.*)

Users can do as follows to configure this custom rule:

a. Create a custom rule by clicking Create under Security Management > Rule Database Management > Custom Rules > Custom.

b. In the Create dialog box, type jackson-17485 as the rule name.

c. Set other parameters as follows and then click Add:

  • Set Inspection Object to Request-Body.
  • Set Matching Relationship to Regular Expression Including.
  • Set Inspection Value to .*org\.springframework\.context\.support\.FileSystemXmlApplicationContext.

After the configuration, constraints are displayed, as shown in the red frame of the following figure.

d. Create a custom policy by clicking Create under Security Management > Policy Management > Policy Type > Others > Custom Policy.

e. Type jackson-17485 as the policy name, select the newly created jackson-17485 rule from the rule list, and then click OK.

f. Apply the newly created custom policy to the website to be protected by choosing Security Management > Website Protection > Website to be protected > Web Security Protection.

g. In the Others area, select the custom policy jackson-17485 and then click OK. Then NSFOCUS WAF can provide protection for the specific website according to the custom rule.

The following figure shows that NSFOCUS WAF has effectively blocked the POC exploit.