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Spring Cloud Function SpEL Injection (CVE-2022-22963)

cve-2021 | Level: Easy  | Total Lab Runs: 0 | Premium Lab

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On March 24, 2022, Pivotal patched a critical server-side code injection vulnerability (Spring Expression Language injection) in Spring Cloud Function, potentially leading to system compromise. Spring is the popular open-source Java framework.

The Vulnerability

A SpEL expression could be received via the "" HTTP header to facilitate application routing.

There was no check in the code whether the expression to be evaluated could be received via a header. To fix the issue, a separate headerEvalContext that is a SimpleEvaluationContext was added.


In this lab environment, the user is going to get access to a low-privileged user in an Ubuntu CLI instance. The root user on the same Ubuntu instance is hosting an application leveraging Spring Cloud Function 3.2.2 that is vulnerable to CVE-2022-22963 and is accessible from the tools installed on the Ubuntu machine at

Objective: Exploit the SpEL Code Injection vulnerability in the deployed application to perform privilege escalation and retrieve the flag from the /root/FLAG file.

The setup code is based on the following Github repository:


  • This lab is dedicated to you! No other users are on this network :) 

  • Once you start the lab, you will have access to a root terminal of a Kali instance

  • Your Kali has an interface with IP address 192.X.Y.Z. Run "ip addr" to know the values of X and Y.

  • The target server should be located at the IP address 192.X.Y.3. It can be accessed using the hostname demo.ine.local

  • Do not attack the gateway located at IP address 192.X.Y.1

The following activities are strictly prohibited on this website unless otherwise explicitly stated as allowed in the mission statement:

  • Using automated scanners
  • Using brute force attacks
  • Denial of Service attacks
  • Attacking other student machines in challenges where you might achieve a shell on the vulnerable system
  • Attacking the lab infrastructure

Users violating the above will be either temporarily or permanently banned from the website. 

If you are unsure about an activity, then please contact support to confirm that it is allowed on our website.

Technical Support for this Lab:

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