Unpatched Zimbra flaw under attack is letting hackers backdoor servers

An unpatched code-execution vulnerability within the Zimbra Collaboration software program is under energetic exploitation by attackers utilizing the assaults to backdoor servers.

The assaults started no later than September 7, when a Zimbra buyer reported a number of days later {that a} server operating the corporate’s Amavis spam-filtering engine processed an e mail containing a malicious attachment. Within seconds, the scanner copied a malicious Java file to the server after which executed it. With that, the attackers had put in an internet shell, which they might then use to log into and take management of the server.

Zimbra has but to launch a patch fixing the vulnerability. Instead, the corporate printed this steerage that advises prospects to make sure a file archiver generally known as pax is put in. Unless pax is put in, Amavis processes incoming attachments with cpio, an alternate archiver that has recognized vulnerabilities that have been by no means mounted.

“If the pax package is not installed, Amavis will fall-back to using cpio,” Zimbra worker Barry de Graaff wrote. “Unfortunately the fall-back is implemented poorly (by Amavis) and will allow an unauthenticated attacker to create and overwrite files on the Zimbra server, including the Zimbra webroot.”

The submit went on to clarify how you can set up pax. The utility comes loaded by default on Ubuntu distributions of Linux, however have to be manually put in on most different distributions. The Zimbra vulnerability is tracked as CVE-2022-41352.

The zero-day vulnerability is a byproduct of CVE-2015-1197, a recognized listing traversal vulnerability in cpio. Researchers for safety agency Rapid7 stated lately that the flaw is exploitable solely when Zimbra or one other secondary software makes use of cpio to extract untrusted archives.


Rapid7 researcher Ron Bowes wrote:

To exploit this vulnerability, an attacker would e mail a .cpio, .tar, or .rpm to an affected server. When Amavis inspects it for malware, it makes use of cpio to extract the file. Since cpio has no mode the place it may be securely used on untrusted information, the attacker can write to any path on the filesystem that the Zimbra consumer can entry. The almost certainly final result is for the attacker to plant a shell within the net root to achieve distant code execution, though different avenues seemingly exist.

Bowes went on to make clear that two circumstances should exist for CVE-2022-41352:

  1. A weak model of cpio have to be put in, which is the case on mainly each system (see CVE-2015-1197)
  2. The pax utility should not be put in, as Amavis prefers pax and pax is not weak

Bowes stated that CVE-2022-41352 is “effectively identical” to CVE-2022-30333, one other Zimbra vulnerability that got here under energetic exploit two months in the past. Whereas CVE-2022-41352 exploits use information based mostly on the cpio and tar compression codecs, the older assaults leveraged tar information.

In final month’s submit, Zimbra’s de Graaff stated the corporate plans to make pax a requirement of Zimbra. That will take away the dependency on cpio. In the meantime, nonetheless, the one choice to mitigate the vulnerability is to put in pax after which restart Zimbra.

Even then, at the least some danger, theoretical or in any other case, might stay, researchers from safety agency Flashpoint warned.

“For Zimbra Collaboration instances, only servers where the ‘pax’ package was not installed were affected,” firm researchers warned. “But other applications may use cpio on Ubuntu as well. However, we are currently unaware of other attack vectors. Since the vendor has clearly marked CVE-2015-1197 in version 2.13 as fixed, Linux distributions should carefully handle those vulnerability patches—and not just revert them.”


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