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[R1] Oracle WebLogic ClassFilter.class ServerChannelInputStream Bypass Java Deserialization Remote Code Execution



On November 6, 2015 FoxGlove Security released an article titled “What Do WebLogic, WebSphere, JBoss, Jenkins, OpenNMS, and Your Application Have in Common? This Vulnerability” by Stephen Breen. The article detailed a variety of applications that were vulnerable to the deserialization of unauthenticated data that could lead to remote code execution. Breen built upon the tool “ysoserial” by Chris Frohoff and Gabriel Lawrence to demonstrate that he could gain execution on these various platforms using various Java gadgets (using Commons Collections, Groovy, or Spring) and the deserialization vulnerability.

On November 10, 2015 Oracle released a security advisory indicating that a CVE had been assigned (CVE-2015-4852) and that patches would be released. Oracle released patches to fix CVE-2015-4852 in WebLogic on November 25, 2015. Oracle WebLogic 12.1.3 with patch 21370953 (WLS Patch set update and patch 22248372 (WebLogic Server CVE-2015-4852 Security Alert Patch) was installed and used in our tests.

The Fix

The patch introduced a “blacklist” of classes that would not be deserialized after the class had been determined. Specifically, this list, by default, consists of:

  1. org.apache.commons.collections.functors*
  2. com.sun.org.apache.xalan.internal.xsltc.trax*
  3. javassist*
  4. org.codehaus.groovy.runtime.ConvertedClosure
  5. org.codehaus.groovy.runtime.ConversionHandler
  6. org.codehaus.groovy.runtime.MethodClosure

The blacklist (ClassFilter.class) is applied in three locations where object deserialization occurs:

  1. weblogic.rjvm.InboundMsgAbbrev.class::ServerChannelInputStream
  2. weblogic.rjvm.MsgAbbrevInputStream.class
  3. weblogic.iiop.Utils.class

The use of the blacklist on ServerChannelInputStream stops the exploit script released by Stephen Breen.

Circumventing the Blacklist

As mentioned above, the fix checks the class in the InputStream and determines if it is in the blacklist or not. However, if we could find an object that creates its own InputStream in its readObject or readExternal that is not ServerChannelInputStream or MsgAbbrevInputStream and calls readObject() than we can use one of the ysoserial gadgets to gain code execution. It just so happens that WebLogic itself has such an object. In the readExternal() function of weblogic.jms.common.StreamMessageImpl, an ObjectInputStream is created based off of the InputStream internal to the member object “payload” (type of PayloadStream). Shortly after the InputStream creation readObject() is called. This leads down the path of exploitation where an attacker can craft a PayloadStream to gain code execution.

Note that CVE-2015-4829 was assigned via email during the disclosure process, but the public Oracle advisory on April 19, 2016 assigned CVE-2016-0638 instead.


Oracle has released a patch to address this issue, as part of the April, 2016 CPU.

Disclosure Timeline

2015-12-08 - Vendor Informed via [email protected]
2015-12-09 - Vendor acks receipt of report, will investigate. S0654611 opened. Asks for our exploit.
2015-12-09 - Tenable sends weblogic.py exploit script
2015-12-10 - Oracle confirms receipt, assigns CVE-2015-4829
2015-12-11 - Oracle confirms vulnerability, no ETA on patch
2015-12-23 - Oracle automated status sent: "Under investigation / Being fixed in main codeline"
2016-01-22 - Oracle automated status sent: "Issue fixed in main codeline, scheduled for a future CPU"
2016-02-24 - Oracle automated status sent: "Issue fixed in main codeline, scheduled for a future CPU"
2016-03-24 - Oracle automated status sent: "Issue fixed in main codeline, scheduled for a future CPU"
2016-04-15 - Vendor reports patch to be released in 4/18 CPU
2016-04-19 - Oracle April 2016 CPU released, CVE-2016-0638 assigned
2016-04-25 - Oracle automated email notifies us CPU was issued.

All information within TRA advisories is provided “as is”, without warranty of any kind, including the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, and with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness. Individuals and organizations are responsible for assessing the impact of any actual or potential security vulnerability.

Tenable takes product security very seriously. If you believe you have found a vulnerability in one of our products, we ask that you please work with us to quickly resolve it in order to protect customers. Tenable believes in responding quickly to such reports, maintaining communication with researchers, and providing a solution in short order.

For more details on submitting vulnerability information, please see our Vulnerability Reporting Guidelines page.

If you have questions or corrections about this advisory, please email [email protected]

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