Friday, May 15, 2015

Apache WSS4J 2.0.4 released

In addition to the new major release of Apache WSS4J (2.1.0), there is a new bug fix release available - Apache WSS4J 2.0.4. Here are the most important bugs that were fixed in this release:
  • We now support the InclusiveC14N policy.
  • We can enforce that a Timestamp has an "Expires" Element via configuration, if desired.
  • There is a slight modification to how we cache signed Timestamps, to allow for the scenario of two Signatures in a security header that sign the same Timestamp, but with different keys.
  • The policy layer now allows a SupportingToken policy to have more than one token.
  • A bug has been fixed in the MerlinDevice crypto provider, which is designed to work with smartcards.
  • A bug has been fixed in terms of using the correct JCE provider for encryption/decryption.

Apache WSS4J 2.1.0 released

A new major release of Apache WSS4J, 2.1.0, has been released. The previous major release of almost a year ago, Apache WSS4J 2.0.0, had a lot of substantial changes (see the migration guide), such as a new set of maven modules, a new streaming implementation, changes to configuration tags, package changes for CallbackHandlers, etc. In contrast, WSS4J 2.1.0 has a much smaller set of changes, and users should be able to upgrade with very few changes (if at all). This post briefly covers the new features and migration issues for WSS4J 2.1.0.

Here are the new features of WSS4J 2.1.0:
  • JDK7 minimum requirement: WSS4J 2.1.0 requires at least JDK7. The project source has also been updated to make use of some of the new features of JDK7, such as try-with-resources, etc.
  • OpenSAML 3.x support: WSS4J 2.1.0 upgrades from OpenSAML 2.x to 3.x (currently 3.1.0). This is an important upgrade, as OpenSAML 2.x is not currently supported.
  • Extensive code refactoring. A lot of work was done to make the retrieval of security results easier and faster.

Here are the migration issues in WSS4J 2.1.0:
  • Due to the OpenSAML 3.x upgrade, you will need to make a small change in your SAML CallbackHandlers, if you are specifying the "Version". In WSS4J 2.0.x, you could specify the SAML Version by passing a "org.opensaml.common.SAMLVersion" instance through to the SAMLCallback.setSamlVersion(...) method. The "org.opensaml.common" package is removed in OpenSAML 3.x. Instead, a new Version bean is provided in WSS4J 2.1.0, that can be passed to the setSamlVersion method on SAMLCallback as before. See here for an example.
  • The Xerces and xml-apis dependencies in the DOM code of Apache WSS4J 2.1.0 have been removed (previously they were at "provided" scope).
  • If you have a custom Processor instance to process a token in the security header in some custom way, you must add the WSSecurityEngineResult that is generated by the processing, to the WSDocInfo Object via the "addResult" method. Otherwise, it will not be available when security results are retrieved and processed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Apache Santuario - XML Security for Java 2.0.4 released

Apache Santuario - XML Security for Java 2.0.4 has been released. The issues fixed are available here. Perhaps the most significant issue fixed is an interop issue which emerged when XML Security is used with OpenSAML (see the Apache CXF JIRA where this was raised).

Monday, April 13, 2015

Vulnerability testing of Apache CXF based web services

A number of automated tools can be used to conduct vulnerability or penetration testing of web services. In this article, we will take a look at using WS-Attacker to attack Apache CXF based web service endpoints. WS-Attacker is a useful tool based on SOAP-UI and developed by the Chair of Network and Data Security, Ruhr University Bochum ( and 3curity GmbH ( As an indication of how useful this tool is, it has uncovered a SOAP Action Spoofing vulnerability in older versions of CXF (see here). In this testing scenario, WS-Attacker 1.4-SNAPSHOT was used to test web services using Apache CXF 3.0.4. Apache CXF 3.0.4 is immune to all of the attacks described in this article (as can be seen from the "green" status in the screenshots).

1) SOAPAction Spoofing attacks

A SOAPAction spoofing attack is where the attacker will attempt to fool the service by "spoofing" the SOAPAction header to execute another operation. To test this I created a CXF based SOAP 1.1 endpoint which uses the action "soapAction="http://doubleit/DoubleIt"". I then loaded the WSDL into WS-Attacker, and selected the SOAPAction spoofing plugin, selecting a manual SOAP Action. Here is the result:

2) WS-Addressing Spoofing attacks

A WS-Addressing Spoofing attack involves sending an address in the WS-Addressing ReplyTo/To/FaultTo header that is not understood or known by the service, but to which the service redirects the message anyway. To guard against this attack in Apache CXF it is required to ensure that the WS-Addressing headers should be signed. As a sanity test, I added an endpoint where WS-Addressing is not configured, and the tests fail as expected:

3) XML Signature wrapping attacks

XML Signature allows you to sign various parts of a SOAP request, where the parts in question are referenced via an "Id". An attacker can leverage various "wrapping" based attacks to try to fool the resolution of a signed Element via its "Id". So for example, an attacker could modify the signed SOAP Body of a valid request (thus causing signature validation to fail), and put the original signed SOAP Body somewhere else in the request. If the signature validation code only picks up the Element that has been moved, then signature validation will pass even though the SOAP Body has been modified.

For this test I created a number of endpoints that are secured using WS-SecurityPolicy. I captured a successful signed request from a unit test and loaded it into WS-Attacker, and ran the Signature wrapping attack plugin. Here is the result:

4) Denial of Service attacks

A Denial of Service attack is where an attacker attempts to crash or dramatically slow down a service by flooding it with data, or crafting a message in such a way as to cause parsing to crash or hang. An example might be to create an XML structure with a huge amount of Attributes or Elements, that would cause an out of memory error. WS-Attacker comes with a range of different attacks in this area. Here are the results of all of the DoS attacks against a plain CXF SOAP service (apart from the SOAP Array attack, as the service doesn't accept a SOAP array):

Friday, February 20, 2015

New Apache WSS4J and CXF releases

Apache WSS4J 2.0.3 and 1.6.18 have been released. Both releases contain a number of fixes in relation to validating SAML tokens, as covered earlier. In addition, Apache WSS4J 2.0.3 has unified security error messages to prevent some attacks (see here for more information). Apache CXF 3.0.4 and 2.7.15 have also been released, both of which pick up the recent WSS4J releases.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Unified security error messages in Apache WSS4J and CXF

When Apache WSS4J encounters a error on processing a secured SOAP message it throws an exception. This could be a configuration error, an invalid Signature, incorrect UsernameToken credentials, etc. The SOAP stack in question, Apache CXF for the purposes of this post, then converts the exception into a SOAP Fault and returns it to the client. However the SOAP stack must take care not to leak information (e.g. internal configuration details) to an attacker. This post looks at some changes that are coming in WSS4J and CXF in this area.

The later releases of Apache CXF 2.7.x map the WSS4J exception message to one of the standard error QNames defined in the SOAP Message Security Profile 1.1 specification. One exception is if a "replay" error occurred, such as if a UsernameToken nonce is re-used. This type of error is commonly seen in testing scenarios, when messages are replayed, and returning the original error aids in figuring out what is going wrong. Apache CXF 3.0.0 -> 3.0.3 extends this functionality a bit by adding a new configuration option:
  • - Whether to return the security error message to the client, and not one of the default error QNames. Default is "false".
However, even returning one of the standard security error QNames can provide an "oracle" for certain types of attacks. For example, Apache WSS4J recently released a security advisory for an attack that works if an attacker can distinguish whether the decryption of an EncryptedKey or EncryptedData structure failed. There are also attacks on data encrypted via a cipher block chaining (CBC) mode, that only require the knowledge about whether the specific decryption failed.

Therefore from Apache WSS4J 2.0.3 onwards (and CXF 3.0.4 onwards) a single error fault message ("A security error was encountered when verifying the message") and code ("", "SecurityError") is returned on a security processing error. It is still possible to set "" to "true" to return the underlying security error to aid in testing etc.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Two new security advisories released for Apache WSS4J

Two new security advisories have been released for Apache WSS4J, both of which were fixed in Apache WSS4J 2.0.2 and 1.6.17.
  • CVE-2015-0226: Apache WSS4J is (still) vulnerable to Bleichenbacher's attack
  • CVE-2015-0227: Apache WSS4J doesn't correctly enforce the requireSignedEncryptedDataElements property
Please see the Apache WSS4J security advisories page for more information.