ServiceStack <=5.9.1 JWT Signature Verification Bypass


ServiceStack is affected by a signature verification bypass in the ServiceStack.Auth.JwtAuthProviderReader method, which could be used to bypass the authentication mechanisms and/or to elevate privileges.

This security advisory is referred to a vulnerability found and resolved internally by ServiceStack’s development team, read the “Re-discovering a JWT Authentication Bypass in ServiceStack” for more information.

Product Description (from vendor)

“ServiceStack is an open-source framework designed to be an alternative to the WCF, ASP.NET MVC, and ASP.NET Web API frameworks. It supports REST and SOAP endpoints, autoconfiguration of data formats, inversion of control containers, object-relational mapping, caching mechanisms, and much more.” For more information visit



Root Cause Analysis

The verification of a JWT token consists of the server extracting the header and the payload of the token from a given request, re-calculating the signature server-side, and finally comparing the calculated signature with the one in the request through the VerifyPayload function.

The VerifyPayload function make usage of the following ServiceStack.EnumerableUtils.EquivalentTo method:

public static bool EquivalentTo(this byte[] bytes, byte[] other)
        var compare = 0;
        for (var i = 0; i < other.Length; i++)
            compare |= other[i] ^ bytes[i];

        return compare == 0;

The method is called with the server-side generated signature as bytes and the request signature as other.
As no length check is performed and the check is pre-set to the success value (var compare = 0), it is possible to bypass the whole check by submitting an empty signature. If other.Length is 0 then no checks are performed and the function will always return True.

Proof of Concept

  1. Create a web application that uses the ServiceStack JWT authentication provider before version 5.9.2.
  2. Forge a valid token (or get one from the service).
  3. Remove the signature from the token (e.g. HEADER.PAYLOAD.SIGNATURE becomes HEADER.PAYLOAD.).
  4. Sent the tampered token to an authenticated API and notice that the token is correctly validated.


An attacker can forge a valid JWT token with arbitrary content.


Upgrade ServiceStack to version 5.9.2 or later.

Disclosure Timeline



This advisory was first published on


2 November 2020