Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



Critical Apache ActiveMQ Vulnerability Exploited to Deliver Ransomware

A recently patched Apache ActiveMQ vulnerability tracked as CVE-2023-46604 is being exploited to deliver ransomware.

A recently patched vulnerability affecting the Apache ActiveMQ message broker is being exploited by cybercriminals in an apparent attempt to deliver ransomware. 

Apache ActiveMQ is described as the “most popular open source, multi-protocol, Java-based message broker”. Several 5.x.x versions of the product, as well as the Apache ActiveMQ Legacy OpenWire Module, are affected by CVE-2023-46604, a security hole that can be exploited for remote code execution. 

“The vulnerability may allow a remote attacker with network access to a broker to run arbitrary shell commands by manipulating serialized class types in the OpenWire protocol to cause the broker to instantiate any class on the classpath,” developers explained in an advisory.

CVE-2023-46604 has been patched with the release of versions 5.15.16, 5.16.7, 5.17.6 and 5.18.3, which Apache ActiveMQ users should install as soon as possible.

The patch was committed to the source code on October 24 and the existence of the vulnerability was made public on October 27. 

On the same day, cybersecurity firm Rapid7 started seeing in-the-wild exploitation attempts

In these attacks, cybercriminals tried to exploit CVE-2023-46604 to deliver ransomware to the targeted system. The attacks were linked to the HelloKitty ransomware family, whose source code was leaked roughly one month ago. 

“The threat actor’s attempts at ransomware deployment were somewhat clumsy: In one of the incidents Rapid7 observed, there were more than half a dozen unsuccessful attempts to encrypt assets,” Rapid7 said in a blog post. 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

On October 30, the Shadowserver Foundation reported seeing over 7,000 internet-exposed ActiveMQ instances, including roughly 3,300 that had been vulnerable to attacks exploiting CVE-2023-46604.

Technical details and proof-of-concept (PoC) code for CVE-2023-46604 are publicly available and they could be useful to other threat groups looking to exploit the vulnerability.

This is not the first Apache ActiveMQ vulnerability that has been exploited in the wild. CISA’s Known Exploited Vulnerabilities Catalog includes CVE-2016-3088, which allows remote attackers to upload and execute arbitrary files.

Related: Cisco Hacked by Ransomware Gang, Data Stolen

Related: CISA Now Flagging Vulnerabilities, Misconfigurations Exploited by Ransomware

Related: Cisco ASA Zero-Day Exploited in Akira Ransomware Attacks

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a managing 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.

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.

Join us as we delve into the transformative potential of AI, predictive ChatGPT-like tools and automation to detect and defend against cyberattacks.


As cybersecurity breaches and incidents escalate, the cyber insurance ecosystem is undergoing rapid and transformational change.


Expert Insights

Related Content


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...

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...

IoT Security

A group of seven security researchers have discovered numerous vulnerabilities in vehicles from 16 car makers, including bugs that allowed them to control car...


A researcher at IOActive discovered that home security systems from SimpliSafe are plagued by a vulnerability that allows tech savvy burglars to remotely disable...


Patch Tuesday: Microsoft calls attention to a series of zero-day remote code execution attacks hitting its Office productivity suite.


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


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