CISA warns that Pulse Secure VPN issue CVE-2019-11510 is still exploited

Pierluigi Paganini January 11, 2020

The US DHS CISA agency is warning organizations that threat actors continue to exploit the CVE-2019-11510 Pulse Secure VPN vulnerability.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is warning organizations that attackers continue to exploit the well known Pulse Secure VPN vulnerability tracked as CVE-2019-11510.

The CVE-2019-11510 flaw in Pulse Connect Secure is a critical arbitrary file read vulnerability.

“Unauthenticated remote attacker with network access via HTTPS can send a specially crafted URI to perform an arbitrary file reading vulnerability.” reads the advisory.

The vulnerability could be easily exploitable by using publicly available proof-of-concept code. The flaw can be used in combination with the CVE-2019-11539 remote command injection issue gain access to private VPN networks.

Recently the popular cybersecurity researcher Kevin Beaumont reported that he was informed of attacks exploiting the Pulse Secure flaw to deliver a piece of the Sodinokibi ransomware.

Beaumont revealed that he had become aware of two notable incidents where attackers exploited the Pulse Secure flaws.

“In both cases the organisations had unpatched Pulse Secure systems, and the footprint was the same — access was gained to the network, domain admin was gained, VNC was used to move around the network (they actually installed VNC via psexec, as java.exe), and then endpoint security tools were disabled and Sodinokibi was pushed to all systems via psexec,” Beaumont explained in a blog post.

In October, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) reported that advanced persistent threat (APT) groups have been exploiting recently disclosed VPN vulnerabilities in enterprise VPN products in attacks in the wild. Threat actors leverage VPN vulnerabilities in Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks and Pulse Secure, to breach into the target networks.

The UK agency reported that APT groups target several vulnerabilities, including CVE-2019-11510 and CVE-2019-11539 in Pulse Secure VPN solutions, and CVE-2018-13379.

NSA also warned of multiple state-sponsored cyberespionage groups exploiting enterprise VPN Flaws

Despite Pulse Secure addressed the flaw in April, thousands of Pulse Secure VPN endpoints are yet to be fixed.

In January 2020, Bad Packets reported that there were still 3,623 vulnerable Pulse Secure VPN servers, 1,233 of which were in the United States.

Now CISA agency confirmed that threat actors continue to exploit the CVE-2019-11510 flaw.

“Although Pulse Secure disclosed the vulnerability and provided software patches for the various affected products in April 2019, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) continues to observe wide exploitation of CVE-2019-11510,” reads the alert published by CISA.

“CISA expects to see continued attacks exploiting unpatched Pulse Secure VPN environments and strongly urges users and administrators to upgrade to the corresponding fixes,”

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Pulse Secure VPN, hacking)

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