A recently discovered vulnerability, CVE-2023-20211, in the web-based management interface of Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Unified CM) and Cisco Unified Communications Manager Session Management Edition (Unified CM SME) could potentially allow an authenticated, remote attacker to perform SQL injection attacks on an affected system. SQL injections pose a serious threat to the security of web applications and are a widespread issue, allowing attackers to manipulate or exfiltrate data from databases.

Improper Validation of User Input

The root cause of the vulnerability is the inadequate validation of user-supplied input. An attacker could exploit the CVE-2023-20211 vulnerability by authenticating to the application as a user with read-only or higher-level privileges and then sending malicious HTTP requests to an affected system. A successful attack would enable the attacker to read or modify data from the underlying database or elevate their privileges.

Original References

1. Cisco Advisory: https://tools.cisco.com/security/center/content/CiscoSecurityAdvisory/cisco-sa-cucm-xsssql-VM4J6te4
2. NVD (National Vulnerability Database) Reference: https://nvd.nist.gov/vuln/detail/CVE-2023-20211

Here is an example code snippet showcasing a possible exploit of the CVE-2023-20211 vulnerability

import requests

# Replace the following placeholders with your actual values
target_url = "https://<TARGET_IP>/ccmadmin/";
username = "<USERNAME>"
password = "<PASSWORD>"

# Get the JSESSIONID for authentication
session = requests.Session()
response = session.post(target_url + "j_security_check", data={"j_username": username, "j_password": password})

# Replace the placeholder with a malicious SQL query
malicious_sql_query = "<MALICIOUS_SQL_QUERY>"
payload = {"custom_parameter": malicious_sql_query}

# Send the crafted HTTP request with the malicious SQL query
response = session.post(target_url + "<TARGET_PATH>", data=payload)

This Python code snippet demonstrates how an attacker might exploit the CVE-2023-20211 vulnerability by connecting to the web-based management interface of Cisco Unified Communications Manager, authenticating as a user with read-only or higher privileges, and sending a crafted HTTP request containing the malicious SQL query to an affected system.


To protect against SQL injection attacks exploiting the CVE-2023-20211 vulnerability, Cisco has released software updates that address the issue. Administrators should install the latest firmware version as soon as possible, following the guidelines provided in the Cisco Advisory mentioned above.


The CVE-2023-20211 vulnerability exposes the web-based management interface of Cisco Unified Communications Manager and Unified CM SME to SQL injection attacks. By exploiting this vulnerability, an attacker can potentially read or modify data in the underlying database or elevate their privileges. To mitigate the risk, administrators must ensure the latest updates are installed, and it is always a good practice to use the least privilege principle, where users have the minimum necessary permissions to perform their tasks. Keeping up to date with software patches and staying vigilant about security best practices are crucial for defending against these types of threats.


Published on: 08/16/2023 22:15:11 UTC
Last modified on: 08/31/2023 15:01:05 UTC