UK NCSC recommends organizations to fix CVE-2020-16952 SharePoint RCE flaw asap

Pierluigi Paganini October 17, 2020

The U.K. National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) issued an alert to urge organizations to patch CVE-2020-16952 RCE vulnerability in MS SharePoint Server.

The U.K. National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) issued an alert to warn of the risks of the exploitation for the CVE-2020-16952 remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability in Microsoft SharePoint Server and urges organizations to address the flaw.

Attackers could exploit this vulnerability to run arbitrary code and execute operations in the context of the local administrator on vulnerable SharePoint servers.

The issue is caused by the improper validation in user-supplied data and can be exploited when a user uploads a specially crafted SharePoint application package to a vulnerable version of SharePoint.

The vulnerability affects Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2013 Service Pack 1, Microsoft SharePoint Enterprise Server 2016, and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2019, while SharePoint Online as part of Office 365 is not impacted.

“The NCSC strongly advises that organizations refer to the Microsoft guidance referenced in this alert and ensure the necessary updates are installed in affected SharePoint products,” reads the alert. “The NCSC generally recommends following vendor best practice advice in the mitigation of vulnerabilities. In the case of this SharePoint vulnerability, it is important to install the latest updates as soon as practicable.”

The server-side include (SSI) vulnerability CVE-2020-16952 was reported by the researcher Steven Seeley from Qihoo 360 Vulcan Team, who also provided a proof-of-concept exploit for the RCE flaw.

An exploit module for the open-source Metasploit penetration testing framework was also available, it works on SharePoint 2019 on Windows Server 2016.

Security experts recommend applying the October 2020 SharePoint security updates ([1],[2],[3]).

Experts pointed out that SharePoint servers are used in enterprise environments, for this reason, such kind of vulnerabilities is very dangerous.

The UK NCSC confirms that both CVE-2020-16952 and CVE-2015-1641 flaws are included in the list of most exploited vulnerabilities since 2016 published in a joint advisory by the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, CVE-2020-16952)

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