Atlassian patched a critical Confluence vulnerability

Atlassian released security updates to address a critical security vulnerability affecting Confluence Server and Confluence Data Center.

Atlassian released security updates to address a critical hardcoded credentials vulnerability in Confluence Server and Data Center tracked as CVE-2022-26138.

A remote, unauthenticated attacker can exploit the vulnerability to log into unpatched servers.

Once installed the Questions for Confluence app (versions 2.7.34, 2.7.35, and 3.0.2), a Confluence user account with the username “disabledsystemuser” is created.

According to Atlassian, the account allows administrators to migrate data from the app to Confluence Cloud. The bad news is that the account is created with a hard-coded password and is added to the confluence-users group, which allows viewing and editing all non-restricted pages within Confluence by default.

“When the Questions for Confluence app is enabled on Confluence Server or Data Center, it creates a Confluence user account with the username disabledsystemuser. This account is intended to aid administrators that are migrating data from the app to Confluence Cloud. The disabledsystemuser account is created with a hardcoded password and is added to the confluence-users group, which allows viewing and editing all non-restricted pages within Confluence by default.”  reads the advisory published by Atlassian. “A remote, unauthenticated attacker with knowledge of the hardcoded password could exploit this to log into Confluence and access any pages the group has access to.”

The affected versions are:

Questions for Confluence 2.7.x2.7.34
Questions for Confluence 3.0.x3.0.2

The company pointed out that uninstalling the Questions for Confluence app does not solve this vulnerability because the disabledsystemuser account is not removed after the app has been uninstalled. Admins of impacted Confluence Server or Data Center instances can remediate this vulnerability with the following actions:

  • Option 1: Update to a non-vulnerable version of Questions for Confluence
  • Option 2: Disable or delete the disabledsystemuser account

The good news is that Atlassian is not aware of attacks in the wild exploiting this vulnerability.

To determine if someone has used the hardcoded password to log into the disabledsystemuser account, admins can get a list of users’ last logon times and if the last authentication time for the hardcoded account is null, that means the account was never used to access the device.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Atlassian)

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Pierluigi Paganini

Pierluigi Paganini is member of the ENISA (European Union Agency for Network and Information Security) Threat Landscape Stakeholder Group and Cyber G7 Group, he is also a Security Evangelist, Security Analyst and Freelance Writer. Editor-in-Chief at "Cyber Defense Magazine", Pierluigi is a cyber security expert with over 20 years experience in the field, he is Certified Ethical Hacker at EC Council in London. The passion for writing and a strong belief that security is founded on sharing and awareness led Pierluigi to find the security blog "Security Affairs" recently named a Top National Security Resource for US. Pierluigi is a member of the "The Hacker News" team and he is a writer for some major publications in the field such as Cyber War Zone, ICTTF, Infosec Island, Infosec Institute, The Hacker News Magazine and for many other Security magazines. Author of the Books "The Deep Dark Web" and “Digital Virtual Currency and Bitcoin”.

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