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Exploitation of Control Web Panel Vulnerability Starts After PoC Publication

Researchers have seen exploitation attempts targeting a critical Control Web Panel (CWP) vulnerability, following the publication of proof-of-concept (PoC) code in early January.

Security researchers are observing exploitation attempts targeting a critical Control Web Panel (CWP) vulnerability, following the publication of proof-of-concept (PoC) code in early January.

Formerly CentOS Web Panel, CWP is a popular, free web hosting panel for enterprise-based Linux systems, offering support for the management and security of both servers and clients.

Tracked as CVE-2022-44877 (CVSS score of 9.8), the exploited vulnerability allows unauthenticated attackers to achieve remote code execution (RCE) on impacted systems.

The security defect is a misconfiguration in functionality that logged incorrect entries on the panel, allowing attackers to insert commands that would be executed on the server, CloudSEK explains in a technical analysis of the PoC.

A NIST advisory notes that “login/index.php in CWP 7 before allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary OS commands via shell metacharacters in the login parameter.”

The issue was identified and reported by Gais Cyber Security researcher Numan Turle and patches were released for both the admin panel and the user panel in October 2022.

On January 3, 2023, Turle published a PoC exploit targeting the vulnerability, along with a video demonstrating the bug in action.

Soon after, attackers started exploiting the vulnerability in malicious attacks, with both cybersecurity firm GreyNoise and nonprofit security organization The Shadowserver Foundation warning of active exploitation attempts.

“We are seeing CVE-2022-44877 exploitation attempts for CWP (CentOS Web Panel/Control Web Panel) instances. This is an unauthenticated RCE. Exploitation is trivial and a PoC published. Exploitation was first observed Jan 6th,” Shadowserver said.

Shadowserver also notes that it sees roughly 38,000 CWP instances exposed to the internet daily. According to CloudSEK, a Shodan query has revealed the existence of over 400,000 servers.

Patches for CVE-2022-44877 were included in CWP7 version CWP users are advised to update to this or a newer version of the management panel as soon as possible.

Related: Cisco Confirms In-the-Wild Exploitation of Two VPN Vulnerabilities

Related: Apple Warns of macOS Kernel Zero-Day Exploitation

Related: Atlassian Expects Confluence App Exploitation After Hardcoded Password Leak

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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