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Status Delivered
Workspace App Connect
Created by Guest
Created on Mar 5, 2012

WMB configurable option to disable DTD processing. This in order to prevent XML BOMB attacks

Currently, it is possible to send a simple DTD “XML BOMB” (recursive validation) message to any flow that parses XML, thereby putting the broker machine on 100% CPU for about 10 minutes and denying service to that flow. Although we haven't tried it yet, I imagine sending a few such messages will deny service to the entire broker due and might result in a forced restart.

This basically means that any broker with just one non-SSL flow is vulnerable to one of the most common and simplest attacks in the book, which will result in serious DOS or might even cause the machine to crash.

Proposed solution:
Have some sort of binary parameter – possibly configurable per-execution group – that makes all flows completely ignore DTD declarations. This should apply to all parsers – XML, XMLNS, XMLNSC, MRM, DFDL, etc.

Since most sites haven't used DTD in years (switched to .xsd validation long ago...) this shouldn't present a problem.

An example of an xml bomb can be found here:
We've used a similar example for our tests.

Idea priority Medium
RFE ID 19454
RFE Product IBM App Connect Enterprise (formerly IBM Integration Bus)
  • Admin
    Ben Thompson
    Jul 14, 2021

    Idea / RFE review. Apologies for the length of time this idea has been in the status of Uncommitted Candidate / Future Consideration. The ability to protect from this vulnerability has been added to the product via an upgrade to the XML4C component, which is mentioned in the security bulletin here:

    The environment variable "XERCES_DISABLE_DTD" can be used to turn on this capability. Status of the idea is updated to Delivered.

  • Guest
    Oct 7, 2015

    Due to processing by IBM, this request was reassigned to have the following updated attributes:
    Brand - WebSphere
    Product family - Integration
    Product - IBM Integration Bus (WebSphere Message Broker) - IIB

    For recording keeping, the previous attributes were:
    Brand - WebSphere
    Product family - Connectivity and Integration
    Product - IBM Integration Bus (WebSphere Message Broker) - IIB

  • Guest
    Apr 4, 2012

    This is a good request; thanks for raising. We currently recommend that, for untrusted services, the Broker is hosted inside a secured back-end environment, with a suitable system in place (e.g. DataPower XS40) that can perform DoS protection before forwarding workloads on.