Recently, concerns have emerged regarding the potential security risks associated with the integration of Apache Axis 1.x in an application. Specifically, the use of the "ServiceFactory.getService" API method alongside untrusted input can expose applications to various threats, including denial-of-service (DoS), server-side request forgery (SSRF), and even remote code execution (RCE). This article aims to provide a thorough overview of the issue, the associated code snippet, links to original references, as well as details on potential exploits.

Code Snippet

While integrating Apache Axis 1.x in your application, a dangerous lookup mechanism such as LDAP may be allowed when utilizing the "ServiceFactory.getService" method. When untrusted input is passed through this API method, potential risks arise. Consider the following code snippet:

import org.apache.axis.client.ServiceFactory;
import javax.xml.rpc.Service;

public class AxisLookup {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    String qname = args[];
    try {
      Service service = ServiceFactory.getService(qname);
      // Further application logic
    } catch (Exception e) {

In the given example, the qname variable is initialized by taking untrusted input from the command-line arguments. When passing this untrusted input to the "ServiceFactory.getService" method, the application becomes vulnerable to attacks.

Original References

The official Apache Axis project does not expect to create an Axis 1.x release that addresses this issue. However, contributors interested in working on a solution can refer to the following GitHub commit to apply a patch as a workaround for this problem:

- Apache Axis 1.x GitHub Commit

The potential exploits resulting from this vulnerability include

1. Denial-of-Service (DoS): An attacker could attempt to consume an application's resources by using a malicious query, causing the application to become unresponsive or even crash.

2. Server-Side Request Forgery (SSRF): In this scenario, an attacker could try to exploit the LDAP lookup mechanism to make requests to unauthorized internal systems. This might lead to unauthorized access and data compromise.

3. Remote Code Execution (RCE): In the most critical case, an attacker may use the vulnerability to execute remote code on the target system. This could give the attacker complete control over the affected application's environment.


Given that Axis 1.x has reached its end-of-life (EOL) status and the Apache Axis project does not plan to release a fix for this issue, it is highly recommended that users migrate to a different SOAP engine, such as the more recent Apache Axis2/Java version. If migration is not feasible, users should either review their code to ensure no untrusted or unsanitized inputs are passed to the "ServiceFactory.getService" method or apply the patch mentioned earlier.


Published on: 09/05/2023 15:15:00 UTC
Last modified on: 10/17/2023 15:15:00 UTC