Instruments with Illumina Universal Copy Service (UCS) v1.x and v2.x have recently been found to contain a critical security vulnerability, categorized as CVE-2023-1966. This vulnerability is characterized by unnecessary privileges, which can be exploited by an unauthenticated malicious actor to remotely upload and execute code at the operating system level. If successfully exploited, the attacker could alter settings, configurations, or software, and potentially access sensitive data within the affected product. In this post, we will provide an overview of the vulnerability, an example of a code snippet that can be used to exploit it, and links to the original references. Furthermore, we will be discussing steps that users can take to secure their systems against this exploit.

Issue Details

The vulnerability lies within the Universal Copy Service, which is a remote utility typically used for managing data transfers between Illumina instruments and servers. The affected software versions are 1.x and 2.x, which do not properly implement access controls for verifying the authenticity of user requests. As a result, an unauthenticated attacker can exploit this oversight and execute arbitrary code on the target system.

For more information about CVE-2023-1966 and its technical details, please refer to the official CVE entry:

Below is a code snippet that demonstrates a basic exploit of the vulnerability

import requests

url = "http://target-IP:808/api/v1/upload";
payload = {
    "file": (
        "print(\"Malicious code executed\") # Replace with any desired code\n",
response =, files=payload)
print(response.status_code)  # A 200 status code indicates successful upload

In this example, we are using Python and the requests library to upload a simple malicious script, which is stored in the payload dictionary. The target-IP should be replaced with the actual IP address of the vulnerable system. A successful upload response (status 200) indicates that the malicious code has been uploaded to the target system. Please note, this code snippet is for demonstration purposes only and should not be used for malicious intent.

Steps to Protect Your System

In order to secure your systems against this vulnerability, it is recommended that you take the following actions:

1. Upgrade to the latest version of Illumina Universal Copy Service: Illumina recommends updating to the latest version available to ensure you are protected against known security vulnerabilities. Check the Illumina support site for information on the latest software updates:

2. Limit network exposure: Restrict inbound and outbound connections to only the services, ports, and protocols required for business operations.

3. Monitor for suspicious activity: Regularly inspect logs and network traffic to identify any unauthorized behavior.

4. Implement strong access controls: Establish proper authentication and authorization mechanisms to restrict access to vulnerable systems only to authorized users.

5. Develop a security patch management plan: Regularly review security updates and available patches for relevant hardware and software components.

By following these guidelines, users can help minimize the risk associated with CVE-2023-1966 and other potential security vulnerabilities.


The CVE-2023-1966 unnecessary privileges vulnerability poses a serious threat to the security of systems running Illumina Universal Copy Service v1.x and v2.x. Utilizing the information provided in this post, administrators can take steps to protect their systems against potential attacks. It is essential to stay informed about security vulnerabilities, maintain strong access controls, and promptly apply any necessary software updates to ensure the ongoing safety and stability of your computing environment.


Published on: 04/28/2023 19:15:00 UTC
Last modified on: 05/09/2023 17:53:00 UTC