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Kevin Beaumont

Pulse Secure SSL VPN vulnerability being exploited in wild

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CVE-2019-11510, impacting Pulse Secure SSL VPN, is being exploited in the wild. 

I've seen it being exploited today, a few hours ago for first time, via BinaryEdge.




24th April 2019 - Vendor advisory.

14th August 2019 - TLP Rainbow post.

20th August 2019 - exploit posted publicly.

22nd August 2019 - exploitation in wild.

Pulse Secure is one of the "Zero Trust" secure SSL VPN systems where you get pwned by 1996 ../../ exploits.


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This is probably getting to deep, but any indication of actual exploitation vs scanning?

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It's a good question, you could argue it's 'just' scanning.  But a 'home' IP yada, if they're finding stuff I imagine they're changing the path.

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Pretty crazy discovery from XMPPwocky - this vulnerability is possible because the code has hardcoded logic to allow directory traversal etc if a certain path is sent - that path happens to allow exploitation.




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21 hours ago, Kevin Beaumont said:


 where you get pwned by 1996 ../../ exploits.


THIS ../../ IS  ../../ THE ../.../ BIT  ../../ THAT ../../ REALLY ../../ HACKS ../../ ME ../../ OFF %00

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The Bad Packets estimate has been revised up to 14,500 vulnerable endpoints for this issue. 



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Scanning the wild for data.mdb, which include usernames and passwords in plain text.  On a live Pulse Secure SSL VPN firewall, from a prior unseen IP.

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An anonymous researcher has pointed out you can remotely retrieve Active Directory usernames and passwords with this vulnerability - the passwords are encrypted, but always with the same passphrase ("NEOTERIS-FORM-CONFIRMATION").  So, essentially, not encrypted.

Other hardcoded encryption keys are PSECURE-ADMINPWD-KEY, JUNIPER-ADMINPWD-KEY and others.

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Some logs you can retrieve with this remotely:

  • https://host/dana-na/../dana/html5acc/guacamole/../../../../../../data/runtime/logs/log.admin.vc0?/dana/html5acc/guacamole/
  • https://host/dana-na/../dana/html5acc/guacamole/../../../../../../data/runtime/logs/log.access.vc0?/dana/html5acc/guacamole/

As an attacker you can use these to figure out to some degree if the box has been tampered with already.

Note that to have a hope of figuring out exactly what attackers tampered with, you need to manually (it is disabled by default) enable "Unauthenticated Web Requests" logging under System -> Logs/Monitoring in the Pulse Secure admin centre.  As a result of this many orgs compromised before they installed the patch will not realise if attackers have created backdoors, and they may still be compromised.  I recommend turning on logging, and looking at the admin logs - it won't catch everything (because HTTP requests aren't logged) but you might find other signs of tampering.

Shoutout to Alyssa Herrera who continues to figure out this vulnerability.

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For some reason the vendor is lying press about the scale of the issue, saying a majority of customers have patched. Interesting response plan. 

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We just finished our world scan on Pulse. Port 443 presents a total of 34267 valid responses on the file that has the version (no auth needed publicly exposed).


Top 10 versions:

Quantity | Version



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