VSV00010 Varnish Request Smuggling Vulnerability


Date: 2022-11-08

A request smuggling attack can be performed on Varnish Cache servers by requesting that certain headers are made hop-by-hop, preventing the Varnish Cache servers from forwarding critical headers to the backend. Among the headers that can be filtered this way are both Content-Length and Host, making it possible for an attacker to both break the HTTP/1 protocol framing, and bypass request to host routing in VCL.

Versions affected

  • Varnish Cache releases 7.0.0, 7.0.1, 7.0.2, 7.0.3, 7.1.0, 7.1.1, 7.2.0

Versions not affected

  • Varnish Cache 7.1.2 (released 2022-11-08)

  • Varnish Cache 7.2.1 (released 2022-11-08)

  • All versions of Varnish Cache 6.0 LTS series and Varnish Cache Plus by Varnish Software.

  • GitHub Varnish Cache master branch at commit e40007dfc2243fb5b3be9923f1ed22dfebb90002


If upgrading Varnish is not possible, it is possible to mitigate the problem by adding the following snippet at the beginning of the vcl_recv VCL function:

sub vcl_recv {
        # Start of mitigation for VSV00010
        # Tip: Expand the regular expression token list to allow
        # additional tokens, e.g.
        # "(close|keep-alive|te|upgrade|http2-settings|my-header)"
        if (regsuball(req.http.connection,
                "(?i)((close|keep-alive|te|upgrade|http2-settings)[ ,]*)", "") !~ "^[ ,]*$") {
                return (synth(400));

This VCL statement would ensure that any attempt to add anything but the frequently used tokens like close, keep-alive, TE, Upgrade and HTTP2-Settings in an incoming Connection-header would be answered with a 400 “Bad request” synthetic response.

Note that some sites may need to allow other header names as tokens in the Connection-header to function properly. If that is the case for your site, add any additional headers needed like the commented tip suggests.


This problem was discovered and reported to us by Martin van Kervel Smedshammer, Graduate Student at the University of Oslo. We wish to thank him for the responsible disclosure.