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From Paul King <>
Subject Re: Potential XXE vulnerability in DomToGroovy
Date Wed, 28 Aug 2019 09:04:15 GMT
Hi Alexandru,

[And other developers -- please check my logic and assumptions]

While Groovy is widely used, I suspect the DomToGroovy tool is not
frequently used. It's typically not used in the context of running
arbitrary scripts.
It is typically used by a developer to manually generate some builder-like
Groovy code which they then edit by hand to correctly generate XML
similar to the original XML file. The tool will typically be executed with
the permissions of that developer and if they already have access to
/etc/passwd then I don't find it unexpected for the content to appear.

Now the real question is whether it can be subverted. If someone had access
to the file system and could write an input file and read an output file
and could run an arbitrary script where they could invoke the DomToGroovy
tool, then it would be possible to exploit the current behavior. But if
they can run an arbitrary script, they could just read the contents of the
/etc/passwd file in this example. I am not sure I see too much of an issue
here but perhaps someone else will chime in if I am missing something

I have a vague recollection when we fixed up other tools, we didn't see
this one as being of the same nature as other cases.
But having said that, I don't see any use case where reading external
entities is going to be beneficial for this tool and we could do a similar
thing as we do for other tools, e.g.:

I would see this as not being critical but could easily be added for an
upcoming release.

Let me know if this sounds reasonable or if you see any flaws in my

Cheers, Paul.


On Wed, Aug 28, 2019 at 7:30 AM Alexandru Gabriel Blanaru <> wrote:

> Hello,
> I hope you are well.
> My name is Alexandru and I am currently doing an independent security
> research as part of a University project.
> I came across a tool from the Groovy library called DomToGroovy which
> appears to have an XXE vulnerability. According to the documentation, it is
> supposed to be turning XML content into Groovy scripts but I am not sure
> whether it is a feature or an actual vulnerability. The bug is present in
> the most recent version of the library according to my findings.
> As proof of concept, a simple payload which makes use of external entities
> in order to load and show the contents of "/etc/passwd" was saved in
> "xxe.xml" and loaded into the program:
> <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
> <!DOCTYPE foo [
> <!ENTITY file SYSTEM "file:///etc/passwd" >
> ]>
> <foo>
> &file;
> </foo>
> I am attaching a screenshot with the output of running DomToGroovy with
> the "xxe.xml" file as input.
> The following article does provide information on how to mitigate the
> problem. As far as I understand the issue is in one of the overloaded
> "parse" functions and the fix should consist of adding some configuration
> attributes to the DocumentBuilderFactory instances.
> XML External Entity Prevention · OWASP Cheat Sheet Series
> <>
> XML External Entity Prevention · OWASP Cheat Sheet Series
> <>
> The vulnerable code:
> public static Document parse(final Reader input) throws Exception {
> DocumentBuilderFactory factory = DocumentBuilderFactory.newInstance();
> factory.setNamespaceAware(true);
> DocumentBuilder builder = factory.newDocumentBuilder();
> return builder.parse(new InputSource(input));
> }
> Given the fact that this library is widely used I decided to contact you
> and not disclose the vulnerability directly (or raise a public ticket on
> the Jira Bug tracker). I am willing to provide 3 to 6 months time before
> full disclosure, so enough in order to fix, apply patches and inform the
> user base to update to the latest version.
> Let me know what you think about this and if you believe the time period
> provided is not reasonable.
> Kind regards,
> Alexandru


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