Nov 22 2022

How to hack an unpatched Exchange server with rogue PowerShell code

Category: Hacking,Security patchingDISC @ 11:01 am

ust under two months ago, some worrying bug news broke: a pair of zero-day vulnerabilities were announced in Microsoft Exchange.

As we advised at the time, these vulnerabilities, officially designated CVE-2022-41040 and CVE-2022-41082:

[were] two zero-days that [could] be chained together, with the first bug used remotely to open enough of a hole to trigger the second bug, which potentially allows remote code execution (RCE) on the Exchange server itself.

The first vulnerability was reminiscent of the troublesome and widely-abused ProxyShell security hole from back in August 2021, because it relied on dangerous behaviour in Exchange’s Autodiscover feature, described by Microsoft as a protocol that is “used by Outlook and EAS [Exchange ActiveSync] clients to find and connect to mailboxes in Exchange”.

Fortunately, the Autodiscover misfeature that could be exploited in the ProxyShell attack by any remote user, whether logged-in or not, was patched more than a year ago.

Unfortunately, the ProxyShell patches didn’t do enough to close off the exploit to authenticated users, leading to the new CVE-2022-40140 zero-day, which was soon laconically, if misleadingly, dubbed ProxyNotShell.

Not as dangerous, but dangerous nevertheless

Tags: Exchange server, PowerShell code

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