Each Apache Dubbo server will set a serialization id to tell the clients which serialization protocol it is working on. But for Dubbo versions before 2.7.8 or 2.6.9, an attacker can choose which serialization id the Provider will use by tampering with the byte preamble flags, aka, not following the server’s instruction. This means that if a weak deserializer such as the Kryo and FST are somehow in code scope (e.g. if Kryo is somehow a part of a dependency), a remote unauthenticated attacker can tell the Provider to use the weak deserializer, and then proceed to exploit it.
The application deserializes untrusted data without sufficiently verifying that the resulting data will be valid.
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It is often convenient to serialize objects for communication or to save them for later use. However, deserialized data or code can often be modified without using the provided accessor functions if it does not use cryptography to protect itself. Furthermore, any cryptography would still be client-side security – which is a dangerous security assumption. Data that is untrusted can not be trusted to be well-formed. When developers place no restrictions on “gadget chains,” or series of instances and method invocations that can self-execute during the deserialization process (i.e., before the object is returned to the caller), it is sometimes possible for attackers to leverage them to perform unauthorized actions, like generating a shell.