URL Restriction Bypass in plantuml/plantuml


Reported on

Apr 10th 2022


The validation of URLs contains flaws that allow bypassing security restrictions that are applied in the security profiles of PlantUML. There are two different flaws through which validation mechanisms can be circumvented.

In the examples images are loaded to showcase the bypass. However, it applies to all methods in PlantUML that can be used to retrieve remote content like !include or %loadJSON.

Accessing Local and Intranet Addresses in SecurityProfile.INTERNET

When running PlantUML with SecurityProfile.INTERNET, access to URLs with IP addresses or local addresses like localhost is denied. The forbiddenURL function is responsible for filtering out those addresses.

Relevant code:


    private boolean isUrlOk() {
        if (SecurityUtils.getSecurityProfile() == SecurityProfile.INTERNET) {
            if (forbiddenURL(cleanPath(internal.toString())))
                return false;

            final int port = internal.getPort();
            // Using INTERNET profile, port 80 and 443 are ok
            return port == 80 || port == 443 || port == -1;


    private boolean forbiddenURL(String full) {
        if (full.matches("^https?://\\d+\\.\\d+\\.\\d+\\.\\d+.*"))
            return true;
        if (full.matches("^https?://[^.]+/.*"))
            return true;
        return false;

The validation can be bypassed with IP addresses that contain internal 0 components. Those components can be omitted. The first validation regex above only takes IPs consisting of 4 dotted parts into account. Access to localhost (IP can thus be achieved by using 127.1 as host IP in the URL for example.

Proof of Concept:

Use the security profile "INTERNET" as described at https://plantuml.com/de/security or by setting System.setProperty("PLANTUML_SECURITY_PROFILE", "ALLOWLIST");.

Start a HTTP server to see the incoming request.

Create the following diagram:

Bob -> Alice : hello <img:"http://127.1/test1.png">

Bypassing Allowlist Validation

When running PlantUML with the restrictive SecurityProfile.ALLOWLIST according to the documentation at https://plantuml.com/en/security the following restrictions apply:

In ALLOWLIST mode, PlantUML cannot have any access to local files or URL. You have to use allowlists to explicitely authorize access to local or remote ressources.

A flaw in the validation check that determines if a provided URL is allowed, lets attackers access arbitrary URLs. When a URL gets checked, the cleanPath function removes the "userinfo" part of the URL that contains username and password (if it exist). This is done by calling removeUserInfoFromUrlPath, which rewrites the URL string by basically removing anything between the scheme and a @ character.

The problem is that the regex PATTERN_USERINFO does not differentiate if there is actually a userinfo part or not. The @ could also be located in other parts of the URL, like the path, query or hash. Furthermore when the HTTP request is sent, the initial unmodified URL is used.

Through this behavior attackers can create URLs that pass the validation check and match an entry of the allow list, but actually point to a totally different URL, than what is validated. This can be achieved by using a URL of the following format: attacker-target#@allow-list-entry. Where attacker-target is the actual target URL, and allow-list-entry an entry in the list of allowed URLs. So if https://fileserver.tld is in the allow list, the URL https://target.tld/path/file?a=b#@fileserver.tld would be recognized as allowed, but would send a request to https://target.tld/path/file?a=b.

Relevant code:


    private boolean isInAllowList() {
        final String full = cleanPath(internal.toString());
        for (String allow : getAllowList())
            if (full.startsWith(cleanPath(allow)))
                return true;

        return false;


    private String cleanPath(String path) {
        // Remove user information, because we don't like to store user/password or
        // userTokens in allow-list
        path = removeUserInfoFromUrlPath(path);
        path = path.trim().toLowerCase(Locale.US);
        // We simplify/normalize the url, removing default ports
        path = path.replace(":80/", "");
        path = path.replace(":443/", "");
        return path;


    private static String removeUserInfoFromUrlPath(String url) {
        // Simple solution:
        final Matcher matcher = PATTERN_USERINFO.matcher(url);
        if (matcher.find())
            return matcher.replaceFirst("$1$3");

        return url;


    private static final Pattern PATTERN_USERINFO = Pattern.compile("(^https?://)(.*@)(.*)");

Proof of Concept:

Use the security profile "ALLOWLIST" and add "https://plantuml.com/" to the allow list (see https://plantuml.com/de/security).

System.setProperty("plantuml.allowlist.path", "https://plantuml.com/");

Start a HTTP server to see the incoming request.

Create the following diagram:

Bob -> Alice : hello <img:"http://127.1/test1.png#/@plantuml.com/">

Note: It seems to be a mistake that SURL also uses SecurityUtils.PATHS_ALLOWED (plantuml.allowlist.path) instead of plantuml.allowlist.url as described in the documentation. The separate allowlist for URLs does not exist at all in the code, so plantuml.allowlist.path needs to be used for paths and URLs. However, the functionality is not affected. Also the allow list entries are split by ";" as described in the documentation. See: https://github.com/plantuml/plantuml/blob/v1.2022.3/src/net/sourceforge/plantuml/security/SURL.java#L275


An attacker can abuse this to bypass URL restrictions that are imposed by the different security profiles and achieve server side request forgery (SSRF). This allows accessing restricted internal resources/servers or sending requests to third party servers.


Allowlist validation bypass

We are processing your report and will contact the plantuml team within 24 hours. 2 months ago
We have contacted a member of the plantuml team and are waiting to hear back 2 months ago
We have sent a follow up to the plantuml team. We will try again in 7 days. a month ago
plantuml/plantuml maintainer has acknowledged this report a month ago
PlantUML validated this vulnerability a month ago
Tobias S. Fink has been awarded the disclosure bounty
The fix bounty is now up for grabs
We have sent a fix follow up to the plantuml team. We will try again in 7 days. a month ago
We have sent a second fix follow up to the plantuml team. We will try again in 10 days. a month ago
We have sent a third and final fix follow up to the plantuml team. This report is now considered stale. 23 days ago
PlantUML confirmed that a fix has been merged on 93e596 15 days ago
The fix bounty has been dropped
SURL.java#L650-L657 has been validated
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