Critical ManageEngine Vulnerability

Rapid7 is taking action in response to several instances of compromise caused by the exploitation of CVE-2022-47966, which is a pre-authentication remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability. 

This vulnerability affects nearly 24 on-premise ManageEngine products, and it is a serious threat that can allow attackers to execute code on a target system without any authentication, making it easy for them to take control of the affected systems.

Security research firm Horizon3 researchers publicly released exploit code and an in-depth technical analysis of the flaw on Tuesday, two days before the first exploitation attempts were observed by cybersecurity firm Rapid7.

Since January 17th, 2023, Rapid7 has observed the phenomenon of exploitation across organizations. During the Rapid7 research team’s tests, they found that some products may be easier to exploit than others according to the research team.

In AttackerKB, Rapid7 provides an in-depth technical analysis of CVE-2022-47966 based on their technical findings.

Critical ManageEngine Vulnerability

  • CVE ID: CVE-2022-47966
  • Details: This advisory addresses an unauthenticated remote code execution vulnerability reported and patched in the following ManageEngine OnPremise products due to the usage of an outdated third-party dependency, Apache Santuario.
  • Impact: This vulnerability allows an unauthenticated adversary to execute arbitrary code when the above SAML SSO criteria are met.
  • Severity: Critical

Products Affected

Here below we have mentioned the complete list of the products that are affected:-

  • Access Manager Plus*
  • Active Directory 360**
  • ADAudit Plus**
  • ADManager Plus**
  • ADSelfService Plus**
  • Analytics Plus*
  • Application Control Plus*
  • Asset Explorer**
  • Browser Security Plus*
  • Device Control Plus*
  • Endpoint Central*
  • Endpoint Central MSP*
  • Endpoint DLP*
  • Key Manager Plus*
  • OS Deployer*
  • PAM 360*
  • Password Manager Pro*
  • Patch Manager Plus*
  • Remote Access Plus*
  • Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM)*
  • ServiceDesk Plus**
  • ServiceDesk Plus MSP**
  • SupportCenter Plus**
  • Vulnerability Manager Plus*

Active Vulnerability Exploitation

It has been observed by Rapid7 that a number of its customers have been compromised by attacks that resulted in post-exploitation activity on some of their ManageEngine instances.

In short, the attackers not only successfully exploited the vulnerability to gain initial access but also continued to operate within the compromised systems.

To disable Microsoft Defender real-time protection, attackers used PowerShell scripts to perform the attack. Furthermore, the folder C:/Users/Public has also been added to the list of folders that Defender will not allow access to.

There was also an additional payload deployed by the threat actors, including remote access tools disguised as Windows Service Host services. 

If your organization is using a product included in ManageEngine’s advisory and you have not updated it, then you need to update it immediately and ensure that any unpatched systems are not compromised.

Since there has already been exploitation of this exploit code after it became publicly available.

This issue was addressed by ManageEngine in October and November of 2022 by releasing patches for these products. On January 19, 2023, the security company Horizon3 also released technical information along with a proof of concept.

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Guru is an Ex-Security Engineer at Comodo Cybersecurity. Co-Founder - Cyber Security News & GBHackers On Security.


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