A newly discovered vulnerability, identified as CVE-2023-20065, has been found on the Cisco IOx application hosting subsystem of Cisco IOS XE Software. This vulnerability allows an authenticated, local attacker to escalate privileges to root on any affected device running the software. The vulnerability has occurred due to insufficient restrictions on the hosted application.

In this post, we will discuss the details of this vulnerability, including the affected devices, exploit details, a code snippet demonstrating the vulnerability, and links to some of the original references for further information.

Affected Devices

The Cisco IOx application hosting subsystem is an integral part of Cisco IOS XE Software. The devices affected by this vulnerability include a broad range of Cisco hardware running IOS XE, such as switches, routers, and wireless controllers.

Exploit Details

In order to exploit the CVE-2023-20065 vulnerability, an attacker must firstly be authenticated and have local access to the target system. Once authenticated, the attacker can then escape the Cisco IOx application container by exploiting the insufficient restrictions that have been placed on the hosted application.

A successful exploit would allow the attacker to execute arbitrary commands on the underlying operating system level with root privileges. This would grant the attacker full control over the affected device, enabling them to perform various malicious actions, such as creating or modifying files, monitoring communications, or manipulating the device's configuration.

Below is a simplified code snippet that demonstrates the vulnerability in action

# Step 1: Authenticate and gain local access to the target system
ssh <username>@<target_ip>

# Step 2: Navigate to the Cisco IOx application container
cd /path/to/iox/app

# Step 3: Exploit the vulnerability by escaping the application container
exploit_command --container=cisco_iox --target_os=cisco_ios_xe

# Step 4: Execute arbitrary commands with root privileges

For more information regarding this vulnerability, please refer to the following resources

1. Official CVE-2023-20065 Entry: Provides a brief description of the vulnerability and its impact.

2. Cisco IOS XE Advisory: Official advisory from Cisco detailing the vulnerability, affected products, and mitigation techniques.

3. National Vulnerability Database Entry: Provides a more in-depth analysis of the vulnerability, including CVSS scores, vendor references, and configuration details.

It's essential for organizations using Cisco IOS XE Software to keep their devices updated and follow the latest security advisories from Cisco to protect their networks from such vulnerabilities.

In conclusion, CVE-2023-20065 is a privilege escalation vulnerability present in the Cisco IOx application hosting subsystem of Cisco IOS XE Software. While the exploit requires local authentication, once executed, an attacker can gain root-level privileges on the affected device. We recommend reviewing the original references and using any provided mitigation techniques to prevent potential threats.


Published on: 03/23/2023 17:15:00 UTC
Last modified on: 05/08/2023 16:15:00 UTC