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Palo Altos Unit 42 Team Reveals New Wave of PAN-OS Firewall Hacks

Palo Altos Unit 42 Team Reveals New Wave of PAN-OS Firewall Hacks


The number of attacks faced by PAN-OS firewalls is increasing, but so far, signs of active command execution are rare.

Palo Altos' PAN-OS firewall has come under increasing attack after the company disclosed a command injection vulnerability on April 12th.

A few days later, the Australian Signals Directorate Australian Cyber ​​Security Center distributed a critical alert about this vulnerability, warning Australian organizations using the Palo Alto firewall to act now to mitigate the vulnerability. Palo Alto said it is working on a hotfix.

Today, Palo Altos Unit 42 provides details on how vulnerability CVE-2024-3400, which could allow threat actors to execute arbitrary code on affected PAN-OS firewalls, is being actively exploited. shared.

The brilliant minds at Unit 42 have categorized exploitation attempts into four distinct groups.

At level 0, the attacker simply probes the customer's network and any kind of access fails. Unit 42 expected that these efforts would have little immediate impact on the organization and that simply applying the available hotfixes would improve the situation.

Unit 42 rates Level 1 as the attacker is actively testing vulnerabilities. In this case, a zero-byte file is created and resides on the firewall. However, there are no known signs of malicious command execution.

Again, applying the Palo Altos hotfix should resolve the issue.

In either case, Unit 42 believes there is no need to reset the affected devices as there are no signs of active compromise or data leakage.

However, at Level 2, Unit 42 begins to realize the possibility of a data breach.

Unit 42 said in a blog post that the files on the device were copied to a location accessible through a web request, but the files may or may not have been subsequently downloaded. . Typically, the file we see copied is running_config.xml.

Unit 42's advice in this case is to both install the hotfix and reset your private data.

Unit 42 says that resetting private data clears all logs and restores settings to factory defaults. The system will restart and your data will be reset. As a best practice, we recommend changing the device master key from the default.

Finally, there are Level 3 exploitation attempts, which involve interactive access to a compromised network. Here, Unit 42 saw evidence of interactive commands being executed, including installing backdoors, downloading files, executing commands, and even introducing new code.

In such cases, simply performing a factory reset followed by installing the required hotfixes will reduce threat activity. However, a factory reset erases keys, certificates, logs, configurations, content, and device images.

Unit 42 recommends changing the device master key from the default as a best practice.

The Palo Altos research team also notes that Level 2 exploitation attempts are limited, while Level 3 exploitation attempts are very limited.

However, disabling device telemetry was an early attempt to mitigate exploitation attempts, but is no longer recommended.

According to Unit 42, an earlier version of this advisory listed disabling device telemetry as a secondary mitigation.

Disabling device telemetry is no longer an effective mitigation. Device telemetry does not need to be enabled for the PAN-OS firewall to be exposed to the attacks associated with this vulnerability.

According to the Shadowserver Foundation, a nonprofit security organization that monitors the Internet for such vulnerabilities, there were still 6,200 vulnerable devices on the Internet as of April 21, 142 of which were in the Oceania region. there is.

david hollingworth

David Hollingworth has been writing about technology for over 20 years and has worked on a variety of print and online titles during his career. He enjoys understanding cyber security and can especially talk about Lego.




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