Hackers are exploiting a server vulnerability with a severity of 9.8 out of 10

Hackers are exploiting a server vulnerability with a severity of 9.8 out of 10

In a growth safety professionals feared, attackers are actively concentrating on one more set of crucial server vulnerabilities that depart firms and governments open to severe community intrusions.

The vulnerability this time is in BIG-IP, a line of server home equipment bought by Seattle-based F5 Networks. Clients use BIG-IP servers to handle visitors going into and out of huge networks. Duties embody load balancing, DDoS mitigation, and internet utility safety.

Final week, F5 disclosed and patched critical BIG-IP vulnerabilities that enable hackers to achieve full management of a server. Regardless of a severity ranking of 9.8 out of 10, the safety flaws acquired overshadowed by a unique set of crucial vulnerabilities Microsoft disclosed and patched in Exchange server per week earlier. Inside just a few days of Microsoft’s emergency replace, tens of thousands of Exchange servers within the US have been compromised.

Day of reckoning

When safety researchers weren’t busy attending to the unfolding Change mass compromise, a lot of them warned that it was solely a matter of time earlier than the F5 vulnerabilities additionally got here underneath assault. Now, that day has come.

Researchers at safety agency NCC Group on Friday said they’re “seeing full chain exploitation” of CVE-2021-22986, a vulnerability that enables distant attackers with no password or different credentials to execute instructions of their alternative on susceptible BIG-IP units.

“After seeing plenty of damaged exploits and failed makes an attempt, we are actually seeing profitable within the wild exploitation of this vulnerability, as of this morning,” Wealthy Warren, Principal Safety Advisor at NCC Group and co-author of the weblog wrote.

In a blog post NCC Group posted a screenshot exhibiting exploit code that would efficiently steal an authenticated session token, which is a sort of browser cookie that enables directors to make use of a web-based programming interface to remotely management BIG-IP {hardware}.

NCC Group

“The attackers are hitting a number of honeypots in several areas, suggesting that there is no such thing as a particular concentrating on,” Warren wrote in an e-mail. “It’s extra seemingly that they’re ‘spraying’ makes an attempt throughout the web, within the hope that they’ll exploit the vulnerability earlier than organizations have an opportunity to patch it.”

He stated that earlier makes an attempt used incomplete exploits that have been derived from the restricted data that was out there publicly.

Safety agency Palo Alto Networks, in the meantime, said that CVE-2021-22986 was being focused by a units contaminated with a variant of the open-source Mirai malware. The tweet stated the variant was “making an attempt to use” the vulnerability, however it wasn’t clear if the makes an attempt have been profitable.

Different researchers reported Web-wide scans designed to find BIG-IP servers which are susceptible.

CVE-2021-22986 is just one of a number of crucial BIG-IP vulnerabilities F5 disclosed and patched final week. The severity Partially is as a result of the vulnerabilities require restricted ability to use. However extra importantly, as soon as attackers have management of a BIG-IP server, they’re kind of contained in the safety perimeter of the community utilizing it. Which means attackers can rapidly entry different delicate components of the community.

As if admins did not have already got sufficient to take care of, patching susceptible BIG-IP servers and in search of exploits ought to be a prime precedence. NCC Group offered indicators of compromise within the hyperlink above, and Palo Alto Networks has IOCs here.

Replace 8:22 pm EDT: After this put up went stay, F5 issued a press release. It learn: “We’re conscious of assaults concentrating on current vulnerabilities printed by F5. As with all crucial vulnerabilities, we advise clients replace their techniques as quickly as attainable.”

In the meantime, NCC Group’s Wealthy Warren responded to questions I despatched earlier. This is a partial Q&A:

What does “seeing full chain exploitation” imply? What was NCC Group seeing earlier than, and the way does “full chain exploitation” change it?

What we imply is that, beforehand we have been seeing attackers making an attempt to abuse the SSRF vulnerability in a manner which couldn’t work, as a result of an vital a part of the exploit was not public data, due to this fact the exploits would fail. Now, attackers have found out the total particulars wanted to make use of the SSRF to bypass authentication and procure authentication tokens. These authentication tokens can then be used to execute instructions remotely. To date, now we have seen the attackers a) get hold of an authentication token, and b) execute instructions to dump credentials. We’ve not seen any web-shells being dropped like we did with CVE-2020-5902, but.

The place, exactly, are you seeing the exploit makes an attempt? Is it in a honeypot, on manufacturing servers, elsewhere?
The attackers are hitting a number of honeypots in several areas, suggesting that there is no such thing as a particular concentrating on. It’s extra seemingly that they’re “spraying” makes an attempt throughout the web, within the hope that they’ll exploit the vulnerability earlier than organizations have an opportunity to patch it. Earlier makes an attempt we noticed towards our honeypot infrastructure confirmed that attackers have been utilizing incomplete exploits primarily based on restricted data that was out there within the public area. This exhibits that attackers are clearly eager to use the vulnerability – even when a few of them do not have the requisite data to engineer their very own assault code.

Are you aware if the exploits are succeeding in compromising manufacturing servers? If sure, what are attackers doing post-exploitation?

In the intervening time, we will not touch upon whether or not the identical attackers have been profitable towards different folks’s servers. Close to post-exploitation actions, now we have solely seen credential dumping to date.

I am studying that a number of menace teams are exploiting the vulnerability. Are you aware this to be true? If that’s the case, what number of totally different menace actors are there?

We have not acknowledged that there are a number of attackers. The truth is, whereas we have seen a number of profitable exploitation makes an attempt from totally different IPs, all makes an attempt have contained some particular hallmarks that are in step with the opposite makes an attempt, suggesting it is seemingly the identical underlying exploit.

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