In today's digital era, there is no denying that network security is of the utmost importance. Among the plethora of network equipment vendors, Cisco has carved a niche for themselves by providing top-of-the-line products and services. However, no system is foolproof, and security vulnerabilities are bound to emerge sooner or later.

In this post, I will be discussing a severe security vulnerability known as CVE-2023-20198 that has been identified in the web UI feature of the Cisco IOS XE Software. This vulnerability poses a grave threat, as it not only allows a remote attacker to gain unauthorized access to an affected system but also offers administrative privileges. Furthermore, I will be covering specific details about the vulnerability, such as its exploitability, code snippet, original references, and most importantly, recommendations on how to mitigate its potential impact.

The Vulnerability and Its Exploits

Cisco recently became aware of an actively exploited vulnerability that affects the web UI feature of their IOS XE Software (Cisco Advisory Link). When the software is left exposed to the internet or untrusted networks, unauthenticated remote attackers can abuse this vulnerability to create an account with privilege level 15 access, essentially gaining full control over the affected system.

The real danger of this vulnerability lies in the ease with which malicious hackers can gain access to sensitive systems, steal valuable data, and disrupt business operations. It is also noteworthy that this vulnerability is highly sought-after, with active exploitation currently ongoing.

Code Snippet

Although the exact code used to exploit this vulnerability is not available, it is speculated that the attack involves HTTP requests that manipulate the account creation process and modify specific fields, granting privilege level 15 access.

Hypothetical Example of Exploit Code

import requests

target_url = "https://[VULNERABLE-SYSTEM-IP]/";
username = "hacker"
password = "p@sswrd"

# Send HTTP request to create an account with privilege level 15 access
data = {
    "username": username,
    "password": password,
    "privilege": 15

response =, data=data)

if response.status_code == 200:
    print("Account created with privilege level 15 access")
    print("Failed to create an account")

Keep in mind that the above code snippet is just a theoretical example and may not reflect the actual exploit code.

To learn more about this vulnerability, you can refer to the following resources

- Cisco Security Advisory
- Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) Details

Recommendations for Mitigation

Although Cisco is currently working on a software patch to address this vulnerability, users are advised to follow these recommendations to safeguard their systems:

Regularly monitor system logs for any suspicious activity or unauthorized access attempts.

For more information on specific steps to close the attack vector for this vulnerability, please refer to the Cisco Advisory Recommendations section.


The discovery of the CVE-2023-20198 vulnerability in Cisco IOS XE Software's web UI feature underscores the need for constant vigilance in protecting networks from cyber threats. Organizations must adopt a proactive approach to identify and remediate vulnerabilities before they cause irreparable damage. By staying informed about the latest security advisories, following best practices, and responding swiftly to emerging threats, organizations can bolster their security postures and safeguard their business operations.


Published on: 10/16/2023 16:15:00 UTC
Last modified on: 10/25/2023 18:17:00 UTC