Threat Signal Report

Incomplete Fix for Apache Struts 2 Vulnerability (CVE-2021-31805) Amended

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FortiGuard Labs is aware that the Apache Software Foundation disclosed and released a fix for a potential remote code execution vulnerability (CVE-2021-31805 OGNL Injection vulnerability ) that affects Apache Struts 2 on April 12th, 2022. Apache has acknowledged in an advisory that the fix was issued because the first patch released in 2020 did not fully remediate the issue. The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) also released an advisory on April 12th, 2022, warning users and administrators to review the security advisory "S2-062" issued by Apache and upgrade to the latest released version as soon as possible.

Why is this Significant?
This is significant because Apache Struts is widely used and successfully exploiting CVE-2021-31805 could result in an attacker gaining control of a vulnerable system. Because of the potential impact, CISA released an advisory urging users and administrators to review the security advisory "S2-062" issued by Apache and upgrade to the latest released version as soon as possible.

On the side note, an older Struts 2 OGNL Injection vulnerability (CVE-2017-5638) was exploited in the wild that resulted in a massive data breach of credit reporting agency Equifax in 2017.

What is Apache Struts 2?
Apache Struts 2 is an open-source web application framework for developing Java web applications that extends the Java Servlet API to assist, encourage, and promote developers to adopt a model-view-controller (MVC) architecture.

What is CVE-2021-31805?
CVE-2021-31805 is an OGNL injection vulnerability in Struts 2 that enables an attacker to perform remote code execution on a vulnerable system. The vulnerability was originally assigned CVE-2020-17530, however CVE-2021-31805 was newly assigned to the vulnerability as some security researchers found a workaround for the original patch released in 2020.

The vulnerability is described as "some of the tag's attributes could perform a double evaluation if a developer applied forced OGNL evaluation by using the %{...} syntax. Using forced OGNL evaluation on untrusted user input can lead to a Remote Code Execution and security degradation."

What Versions of Apache Struts are Vulnerable to CVE-2021-31805?

Struts 2.0.0 - Struts 2.5.29 are vulnerable.

Struts 2.0.0 and 2.5.29 were released in 2006 and 2022 respectively.

Has the Vendor Released a Patch for CVE-2021-31805?
Yes, Apache released a fixed version (2.5.30) of Apache Struts 2 on April 12th, 2022.

Users and administrators are advised to upgrade to Struts 2.5.30 or greater as soon as possible.

Has the Vendor Released an Advisory?
Yes, Apache released an advisory on April 12th, 2022. See the Appendix for a link to "Security Bulletin: S2-062".

What is the Status of Coverage?
FortiGuard Labs provides the following IPS coverage for CVE-2020-17530, which applies for CVE-2021-31805:



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