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Exploitation of Palo Alto Firewall Vulnerability Picking Up After PoC Release

Palo Alto Networks firewall vulnerability CVE-2024-3400 increasingly exploited after PoC code has been released. 

Palo Alto Networks

The recently disclosed Palo Alto Networks firewall vulnerability tracked as CVE-2024-3400 is being increasingly exploited in attacks after proof-of-concept (PoC) code has been made available.

CVE-2024-3400 came to light on April 12, when Palo Alto Networks warned customers that it had become aware of attacks exploiting the zero-day. The flaw allows a remote, unauthenticated attacker to execute arbitrary code with root privileges on firewalls that have the GlobalProtect feature and device telemetry enabled.

Cybersecurity firm Volexity spotted the attacks involving exploitation of CVE-2024-3400. The company said a threat actor it tracks as UTA0218, which is likely a state-sponsored group, leveraged the vulnerability to move into internal networks and exfiltrate data. In some cases the attackers attempted to deploy a previously undocumented Python backdoor named Upstyle.

Volexity has not been able to link the attacks to any known threat group or campaign, but there have been some unconfirmed reports of a possible connection to the North Korean threat actor Lazarus.

Palo Alto Networks’ advisory for CVE-2024-3400 initially informed customers about limited attacks, but it has now been updated to say that the company is aware of “an increasing number of attacks”.

The vendor has released patches for some of the affected versions of PAN-OS and more are expected to become available later this week. However, the company is now telling customers that one of the initially recommended mitigations — disabling device telemetry — is not an effective way of preventing attacks. 

Technical details and exploit code are available from WatchTowr, as well as on Rapid7’s AttackerKB website. 

Shortly after details and PoC code became available, the Shadowserver Foundation announced seeing exploitation attempts. Threat intelligence company GreyNoise has also started tracking attacks and on Tuesday it saw exploitation attempts coming from three unique IP addresses.  

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At least some of the exploitation attempts likely originate from the cybersecurity community, rather than malicious actors. 

In terms of the number of vulnerable systems, Shadowserver is seeing roughly 150,000 internet-exposed Palo Alto Networks firewalls. The non-profit organization will soon start sharing data on how many of them are potentially impacted. 

Censys is also seeing roughly 150,000 internet-exposed instances of Palo Alto Networks firewalls that use the GlobalProtect feature. 

Related: Delinea Scrambles to Patch Critical Flaw After Failed Responsible Disclosure Attempt

Related: Microsoft Patches Two Zero-Days Exploited for Malware Delivery

Related: Recent Fortinet FortiClient EMS Vulnerability Exploited in 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.

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