CodeQL documentation

Insecure Bean Validation

ID: java/insecure-bean-validation
Kind: path-problem
Severity: error
Precision: high
   - security
   - external/cwe/cwe-094
Query suites:
   - java-code-scanning.qls
   - java-security-extended.qls
   - java-security-and-quality.qls

Click to see the query in the CodeQL repository

Custom error messages for constraint validators support different types of interpolation, including Java EL expressions. Controlling part of the message template being passed to ConstraintValidatorContext.buildConstraintViolationWithTemplate() argument can lead to arbitrary Java code execution. Unfortunately, it is common that validated (and therefore, normally untrusted) bean properties flow into the custom error message.


There are different approaches to remediate the issue:

  • Do not include validated bean properties in the custom error message.

  • Use parameterized messages instead of string concatenation. For example:

HibernateConstraintValidatorContext context =
context.addMessageParameter("foo", "bar");
context.buildConstraintViolationWithTemplate("My violation message contains a parameter {foo}")
  • Sanitize the validated bean properties to make sure that there are no EL expressions. An example of valid sanitization logic can be found here.

  • Disable the EL interpolation and only use ParameterMessageInterpolator:

Validator validator = Validation.byDefaultProvider()
   .messageInterpolator(new ParameterMessageInterpolator())
  • Replace Hibernate Validator with Apache BVal, which in its latest version does not interpolate EL expressions by default. Note that this replacement may not be a simple drop-in replacement.


The following validator could result in arbitrary Java code execution:

import javax.validation.ConstraintValidator;
import javax.validation.ConstraintValidatorContext;
import org.hibernate.validator.constraintvalidation.HibernateConstraintValidatorContext;
import java.util.regex.Matcher;
import java.util.regex.Pattern;

public class TestValidator implements ConstraintValidator<Object, String> {

    public static class InterpolationHelper {

        public static final char BEGIN_TERM = '{';
        public static final char END_TERM = '}';
        public static final char EL_DESIGNATOR = '$';
        public static final char ESCAPE_CHARACTER = '\\';

        private static final Pattern ESCAPE_MESSAGE_PARAMETER_PATTERN = Pattern.compile( "([\\" + ESCAPE_CHARACTER + BEGIN_TERM + END_TERM + EL_DESIGNATOR + "])" );

        private InterpolationHelper() {

        public static String escapeMessageParameter(String messageParameter) {
            if ( messageParameter == null ) {
                return null;
            return ESCAPE_MESSAGE_PARAMETER_PATTERN.matcher( messageParameter ).replaceAll( Matcher.quoteReplacement( String.valueOf( ESCAPE_CHARACTER ) ) + "$1" );


    public boolean isValid(String object, ConstraintValidatorContext constraintContext) {
        String value = object + " is invalid";

        // Bad: Bean properties (normally user-controlled) are passed directly to `buildConstraintViolationWithTemplate`

        // Good: Bean properties (normally user-controlled) are escaped 
        String escaped = InterpolationHelper.escapeMessageParameter(value);

        // Good: Bean properties (normally user-controlled) are parameterized
        HibernateConstraintValidatorContext context = constraintContext.unwrap( HibernateConstraintValidatorContext.class );
        context.addMessageParameter( "prop", object );
        context.buildConstraintViolationWithTemplate( "{prop} is invalid").addConstraintViolation();
        return false;