A possible Remote Code Execution attack when using an unintentional expression in Freemarker tag instead of string literals

Who should read this

All Struts 2 developers and users

Impact of vulnerability

A RCE attack is possible when developer is using wrong construction in Freemarker tags

Maximum security rating



Upgrade to Struts 2.5.12 or Struts 2.3.34

Affected Software

Struts 2.0.0 - 2.3.33

Struts 2.5 - Struts


Lupin <lupin1314 at gmail dot com> - security team

David Greene <david at trumpetx dot com>

Roland McIntosh <struts at rgm dot nu>

CVE Identifier



When using expression literals or forcing expression in Freemarker tags (see example below) and using request values can lead to RCE attack.

<@s.hidden name="redirectUri" value=redirectUri />
<@s.hidden name="redirectUri" value="${redirectUri}" />
<@s.hidden name="${redirectUri}"/>

In both cases a writable property is used in the value attribute and in both cases this is threatened as an expression by Freemarker. Please be aware that using Struts expression evaluation style is safe:

<@s.hidden name="redirectUri" value="%{redirectUri}" />
<@s.hidden name="%{redirectUri}"/>


Do not use such constructions in your code or use read-only properties to initialise the value attribute (property with getter only). You can upgrade to Apache Struts version 2.5.12 or 2.3.34 which contain more restricted Freemarker configuration but removing vulnerable constructions is preferable.

Backward compatibility

No backward incompatibility issues are expected.


Inspect your code and remove vulnerable constructions.

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