Spring Security Vulnerability (CVE-2024-22234): Mitigating Broken Access Control

A recently disclosed vulnerability in Spring Security (CVE-2024-22234, CVSS 7.4) could lead to unauthorized access within affected Java web applications. Organizations leveraging Spring Security for authentication and authorization should prioritize mitigation to address the potential risk.

Understanding the Vulnerability

The vulnerability specifically stems from the AuthenticationTrustResolver.isFullyAuthenticated(Authentication) method within Spring Security versions 6.1.x prior to 6.1.7 and versions 6.2.x prior to 6.2.2. Under certain conditions, passing a null authentication value to this method can generate an erroneous true response, falsely indicating successful authentication.

Applications are not vulnerable to CVE-2024-22234 under several conditions:

  • The application does not use AuthenticationTrustResolver.isFullyAuthenticated(Authentication) directly.
  • The application does not pass null to AuthenticationTrustResolver.isFullyAuthenticated
  • The application only uses isFullyAuthenticated via Method Security or HTTP Request Security

Potential Consequences

If exploited, this vulnerability could grant unauthorized attackers the following capabilities:

  • Data Exposure: Unauthorized access to sensitive information (customer details, financial transactions, trade secrets).
  • Unrestricted Resource Access: Malicious actors can modify permissions, configurations, or other restricted areas within your system.
  • Reputation Damage: Successful attacks erode trust in your application and the company as a whole.

Are You at Risk?

You might be vulnerable if your application directly uses the AuthenticationTrustResolver.isFullyAuthenticated(Authentication) method and, under certain circumstances, allows a null value to be passed.

Safeguarding Your Applications

If you are using Spring Security:

  1. Upgrade Immediately: Apply updates to version 6.1.7 or 6.2.2, where this vulnerability has been addressed.
  2. Review Implementation: Even if you are on a patched version, double-check that you are not directly making isFullyAuthenticated() calls in your code, and carefully handle potential null values.