Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

SecurityWeekSecurityWeek

Malware & Threats

CISA Says ‘PwnKit’ Linux Vulnerability Exploited in Attacks

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) says a Linux vulnerability tracked as CVE-2021-4034 and PwnKit has been exploited in attacks.

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) says a Linux vulnerability tracked as CVE-2021-4034 and PwnKit has been exploited in attacks.

The flaw, which came to light in January, affects Polkit, a component designed for controlling system-wide privileges in Unix-like operating systems. Polkit is developed by Red Hat, but it’s also used by other Linux distributions.

PwnKit has been described as a memory corruption issue that can be exploited for privilege escalation — it allows any unprivileged local user to elevate permissions to root.

The vulnerability has been found to impact the products of several major companies. Juniper Networks, Moxa, IBM, VMware, Siemens and others have released advisories to describe the impact of CVE-2021-4034.

Proof-of-concept (PoC) exploits have been available and exploitation is easy, which is why experts have been warning that the likelihood of malicious exploitation is high.

CISA on Monday added the vulnerability to its Known Exploited Vulnerabilities Catalog — also known as the agency’s “Must Patch” list — and instructed federal agencies to install patches until July 18.

While there do not appear to be any public reports describing attacks that involve exploitation of PwnKit, CISA only adds a vulnerability to its Must Patch list if it has reliable evidence of exploitation in the wild. It’s possible that the agency has privately obtained the information about active exploitation.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Security experts noted that while exploitation of CVE-2021-4034 should leave traces in log files, it’s also possible to exploit the flaw without leaving such traces.

In addition to the PwnKit vulnerability, CISA has added seven other flaws to its catalog, including a recent Mitel VOIP zero-day exploited in ransomware attacks, a Chromium vulnerability exploited in malvertising campaigns, and several iOS vulnerabilities that have been exploited by Italian spyware.

Federal agencies have been instructed to address all of these vulnerabilities by July 18, but private companies are also advised to use CISA’s catalog to prioritize patches and improve their vulnerability management processes.

Related: CISA Clarifies Criteria for Adding Vulnerabilities to ‘Must Patch’ List

Related: CISA Says ‘HiveNightmare’ Windows Vulnerability Exploited in Attacks

Related: CISA Warns of Attacks Exploiting Recent Vulnerabilities in Zabbix Monitoring Tool

Related: CISA Says Recent Cisco Router Vulnerabilities Exploited in Attacks

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

Click to comment

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

SecurityWeek’s Threat Detection and Incident Response Summit brings together security practitioners from around the world to share war stories on breaches, APT attacks and threat intelligence.

Register

Securityweek’s CISO Forum will address issues and challenges that are top of mind for today’s security leaders and what the future looks like as chief defenders of the enterprise.

Register

Expert Insights

Related Content

Vulnerabilities

Less than a week after announcing that it would suspended service indefinitely due to a conflict with an (at the time) unnamed security researcher...

Data Breaches

OpenAI has confirmed a ChatGPT data breach on the same day a security firm reported seeing the use of a component affected by an...

Cybercrime

The changing nature of what we still generally call ransomware will continue through 2023, driven by three primary conditions.

Cybercrime

A recently disclosed vBulletin vulnerability, which had a zero-day status for roughly two days last week, was exploited in a hacker attack targeting the...

Risk Management

The supply chain threat is directly linked to attack surface management, but the supply chain must be known and understood before it can be...

Vulnerabilities

The latest Chrome update brings patches for eight vulnerabilities, including seven reported by external researchers.

Vulnerabilities

Patch Tuesday: Microsoft warns vulnerability (CVE-2023-23397) could lead to exploitation before an email is viewed in the Preview Pane.

Vulnerabilities

Apple has released updates for macOS, iOS and Safari and they all include a WebKit patch for a zero-day vulnerability tracked as CVE-2023-23529.