Hackers Exploiting Juniper RCE Flaw Following PoC Release

There were multiple vulnerabilities in the Juniper SRX and EX Series, which were reported previously.

These vulnerabilities have a medium severity if they are separated. However, combining them together results in a pre-auth RCE, which is a critical vulnerability.

Following their report earlier this month, a PoC (Proof-of-concept) has been released, which provides details on the function flaw, exploitation, and its impact on businesses.

Nevertheless, reports have stated that several attempts were made to exploit Juniper J-Web ever since the PoC was publicly released.

Juniper has released patches for fixing these vulnerabilities and also recommended its users patch their devices accordingly in order to prevent external threat actors.

Juniper released a security advisory for the critical pre-auth RCE in mid-August, which security researchers analyzed at Watchtower Labs.

In addition to that, they conducted thorough research, which provided a complete insight about the exploitation of this vulnerability and its related vulnerabilities.

As part of the research, researchers took two specific vulnerabilities (CVE-2023-36846, CVE-2023-36845) that were mentioned in the security bulletin in Juniper. They both relate to a Missing authentication for critical functions and PHP External Variable Modification vulnerability.


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Further analysis revealed that the J-Web was entirely written in PHP, and a user class manages the authentication. Additionally, a PHP file webauth_operation.php was discovered.

Furthermore, a total of 150 individual functions were discovered that were used for multiple purposes like simple helpers, formatting IP addresses, and going up to complex functions. All of these functions had interaction with the appliance’s CLI.

A complete report was published by Watchtwr researchers, which provides detailed information about these vulnerabilities and their exploitation methods.

A GitHub repository consisting of the Proof-of-concept for this vulnerability has been released, which can be used by security personnel to test and patch their vulnerable environments.

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