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Double EL expression evaluation in JSP MessageTag [SPR-5308] #9981

spring-projects-issues opened this issue Nov 18, 2008 · 1 comment


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@spring-projects-issues spring-projects-issues commented Nov 18, 2008

Jarek Bojar opened SPR-5308 and commented

I think that, spring's MessageTag contains a fairly serious security vulnerability.
'Arguments' attribute is internally evaluated in MessageTag using ExpressionEvaluationUtils. If we are using JSP 2.0 then el expressions are potentially evaluated twice: first by JSP engine, second by MessageTag. This can lead to el expression injection (something similar to sql injection).
Consider the following example:

In message bundle we have message:
msg,welcome=Welcome {0} on our home page!

In JSP we use MessageTag to print this message with user name applied as argument:
<spring:message code="msg,welcome" arguments="${userBean.firstName}"/>

If malicious user supplies an el expressions instead of his first name, he can gain access to sensitive data.
For example, he can enter ${initParam.someParam} and gain access to init parameters defined in web.xml.
Through ${pageContext.servletContext.applicationContext} he can discover server type and some internal server configuration.
Potentially he can discover some other sensitive data accessible by EL expressions.
Additionally EL expressions are not escaped by spring's HtmlUtil.escapeHtml(...).

I think that there should be a way to completely disable EL expression evaluation in MessageTag, because it is not needed when using JSP 2.0 (with builtin el evaluation).

Referenced from: commits b8d8633, 62ccc8d, 9772eb8

1 votes, 2 watchers

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@spring-projects-issues spring-projects-issues commented Nov 20, 2012

Juergen Hoeller commented

Sorry, we completely forgot to update this issue back last year...

There is a web.xml init-param called "springJspExpressionSupport" now, which can be set to "false" in order to deactivate Spring's JSP expression support entirely. As of Spring Framework 3.1, when running on a Servlet 3.0 container, we automatically detect the need for Spring's JSP expression parsing depending on the declared Servlet version in web.xml (it'll be off by default for Servlet 2.4+ deployments, declaring the Servlet 2.4+ xsd in web.xml). And as of Spring Framework 3.2, Spring's own JSP expression mechanism is effectively deprecated and therefore off by default in all non-Servlet-3.0 scenarios as well.


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