CVE Vulnerabilities


Improper Restriction of XML External Entity Reference

Published: Aug 20, 2018 | Modified: Oct 23, 2018
CVSS 3.x
CVSS 2.x
7.5 HIGH

JabRef version <=4.3.1 contains a XML External Entity (XXE) vulnerability in MsBibImporter XML Parser that can result in disclosure of confidential data, denial of service, server side request forgery, port scanning. This attack appear to be exploitable via Specially crafted MsBib file. This vulnerability appears to have been fixed in after commit 89f855d.


The software processes an XML document that can contain XML entities with URIs that resolve to documents outside of the intended sphere of control, causing the product to embed incorrect documents into its output.

Affected Software

Name Vendor Start Version End Version
Jabref Jabref * 4.3.1
Jabref Ubuntu bionic *
Jabref Ubuntu cosmic *
Jabref Ubuntu trusty *
Jabref Ubuntu upstream *
Jabref Ubuntu xenial *

Extended Description

XML documents optionally contain a Document Type Definition (DTD), which, among other features, enables the definition of XML entities. It is possible to define an entity by providing a substitution string in the form of a URI. The XML parser can access the contents of this URI and embed these contents back into the XML document for further processing. By submitting an XML file that defines an external entity with a file:// URI, an attacker can cause the processing application to read the contents of a local file. For example, a URI such as “file:///c:/winnt/win.ini” designates (in Windows) the file C:\Winnt\win.ini, or file:///etc/passwd designates the password file in Unix-based systems. Using URIs with other schemes such as http://, the attacker can force the application to make outgoing requests to servers that the attacker cannot reach directly, which can be used to bypass firewall restrictions or hide the source of attacks such as port scanning. Once the content of the URI is read, it is fed back into the application that is processing the XML. This application may echo back the data (e.g. in an error message), thereby exposing the file contents.

Potential Mitigations