Whisper this, but Java deserialisation vulnerability affects more libraries

The ‘challenge is internally written software’, says ISC

Bookshelf in the British Library basement

A Java deserialisation vulnerability may affect as many as 40 more software libraries than first feared, research has revealed this week.

The deserialisation bug in Apache Commons Collections affects popular distributed software such as WebSphere and JBoss, FoxGlove Security advised last month.

But new research by security-tools-for-software-developers firm SourceClear, out this week, suggests 40 additional libraries may be affected by the same bug.

Libraries including Apache Directory API, JMS Transport, versions of Webx All-in-one Bundle, hadoop-mapreduce-client-core, and many more appear to be at risk.

“What makes this flaw so nasty is that it is not a flaw in Java itself, but instead a flaw in a widely used library,” Johannes Ullrich, CTO at the SANS Institute Internet Storm Center, said at the time of the original warnings last month. “Inventorying which libraries are used by which specific software is notoriously difficult.”

“Several major enterprise software packages have been updated as a result. But the real challenge is internally written software, or custom software procured from third parties,” he added.

The problem has been understood for a while, but avoided much attention until last month when a more credible attack scenario was outlined. The root cause of the problem is down to apps not validating or checking untrusted input prior to deserialisation.

The vulnerability might be exploited by hackers to take control of app servers running affected libraries. The issue at the heart of the problem affects all apps that accept serialised Java objects.

Developers ought to review their code and libraries to see whether or not their technology might be vulnerable to the deserialisation vulnerability, SourceClear advises. ®


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