The CVE-2023-3648 vulnerability affects Wireshark, a widely used network protocol analyzer for Unix and Windows operating systems. The bug is present in Kafka dissector, a specific component of Wireshark utilized for analyzing Kafka protocol traffic, and leads to denial of service (DoS) attacks. The following Wireshark versions are affected: 4.. to 4..6 and 3.6. to 3.6.14.

In this post, we will discuss the details of how this vulnerability works, the code snippet illustrating the crash, and possible consequences of exploitation by attackers. We will also provide relevant links to original references to help those seeking further information.

Code Snippet

Below is a snippet of code from the Kafka dissector in Wireshark that identifies the source of CVE-2023-3648:

if(size > remaining_data)
    size = remaining_data;
tvbuff_t *next_tvb = tvb_new_subset_length(data_tvb, offset, size);
dissect_kafka_sasl_authenticate_message(next_tvb, pinfo, subtree, conv_data);

In the code snippet above, the size variable is not properly checked for negative values, which could lead to a crash.

Exploit Details

An attacker who exploits CVE-2023-3648 can trigger a denial of service in Wireshark's processing by injecting malicious Kafka packets or loading a maliciously crafted capture file. Specifically, the exploitation involves sending an oversized packet to the target system, causing a buffer overflow that ultimately results in application crashes.

The vulnerability allows an attacker to disrupt a network administrator's ability to analyze network traffic using Wireshark, potentially impeding the identification of malicious activities on the network. Moreover, this denial of service attack could lead to a waste of essential resources and create a negative impact on the affected organization's operations.

Original References

For further information and details about this vulnerability, you can refer to the following official websites and security advisories:

1. Wireshark's official website:
2. Wireshark's official Bugzilla report:
3. National Vulnerability Database (NVD) entry:
4. MITRE's CVE page:


In conclusion, CVE-2023-3648 is a vulnerability in Wireshark's Kafka dissector that affects versions 4.. to 4..6 and 3.6. to 3.6.14. The exploit involves injecting malicious packets or crafting capture files that cause a crash in the application, resulting in a denial of service. To safeguard networks and resources against such attacks, it is critical to update Wireshark to the latest version available and stay vigilant in preventing the execution of malicious files.


Published on: 07/14/2023 07:15:00 UTC
Last modified on: 07/25/2023 18:24:00 UTC