Confluence Security Advisory 2009-02-18

Confluence Security Overview and Advisories

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In this advisory:

HTTP Header Injection Flaw


Atlassian rates this vulnerability as high, according to the scale published in Confluence Security. The scale allows us to rank a vulnerability as critical, high, moderate or low.
(info) An Advanced Warning of this Security Advisory published last week stated the severity of this vulnerability as critical. After further assessing the likelihood of attack, however, we have amended this to high.

Risk Assessment

We have identified and fixed a security flaw which may affect Confluence instances in a public environment. This flaw is an HTTP header injection vulnerability in the Seraph web framework that is used by Confluence. This potentially allows a malicious user (attacker) to modify the HTTP response to insert malicious code. An attacker could present a modified URL to users (e.g. disguised in an email message). If any user clicks the URL, the malicious code would be executed in the user's session.

  • The attacker may take advantage of this flaw to steal other users' session cookies or other credentials, by sending the credentials back to the attacker's own web server.
  • The attacker could also gain control over the underlying system, based on the privileges of the user whose session cookie has been stolen.
  • The attacker could redirect the user to undesirable web sites. This is potentially damaging to your company's reputation.

Atlassian recommends that you upgrade to Confluence 2.10.2 to fix the vulnerabilities described below.

Risk Mitigation

We strongly recommend either patching or upgrading your Confluence installation to fix this vulnerability. Please see the 'Fix' section below.

Alternatively, you may consider taking the following step, although the time required to fix this vulnerability and the extent of its effectiveness will depend on your application server running Confluence and its configuration:

  • Consult the vendor of your application server to see whether your application server is immune to header injection vulnerabilities or has configuration options to prevent such attacks. For example, the Coyote (HTTP) connector in Tomcat version 5.5 and later is immune to header injection attacks, as acknowledged in this reference.
    Technical note: In your application server, header injection vulnerabilities can be mitigated if the setHeader(), addHeader(), and sendRedirect() methods in the HttpServletResponse class have their parameters properly checked for header termination characters.
    (info) You may wish to forward this technical note to the vendor of your application server to help them assess the vulnerability of your application server to header injection attacks.


All versions of Confluence prior to 2.10.2 are vulnerable to this security flaw.


The fix updates the Seraph framework to a version which correctly encodes and validates redirect URLs before sending them back to the user.

To patch your existing installation of Confluence, please refer to CONF-14275. This JIRA issue contains the downloadable patch file and instructions on how to patch your existing Confluence installation.

Alternatively, install or upgrade to Confluence version 2.10.2. (See the release notes.) The Confluence 2.10.2 installation files can be downloaded from the download centre.

For more information, please refer to CONF-14275.

Last modified on Jun 6, 2011

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