Adobe ColdFusion, a popular platform for building web applications and web services, has been found to be vulnerable to an Improper Access Control vulnerability that affects versions 2018u18 (and earlier), 2021u8 (and earlier), and 2023u2 (and earlier). This vulnerability could lead to a security feature bypass, as an attacker can access the administration CFM and CFC endpoints without proper authorization. Exploiting this issue doesn't require any user interaction, making it particularly dangerous for affected systems.

Vulnerability Details

The CVE-2023-38205 vulnerability is present in Adobe ColdFusion due to improper access control mechanisms. This allows an attacker to bypass security features and gain unauthorized access to administration CFM and CFC endpoints. These endpoints are critical as they are responsible for controlling and managing various configurations and settings in ColdFusion applications.

An attacker exploiting this vulnerability could potentially gain full control over the affected ColdFusion instance, which might lead to unauthorized data access, modifications, or even a complete system compromise. This makes the vulnerability highly critical, and it should be patched as soon as possible to minimize the risk.

Below is a sample code snippet demonstrating the vulnerability

<!--- This code snippet might be vulnerable to CVE-2023-38205 --->
<cfset adminAccess = false>
<cfif isUserInRole("administrator")>
    <cfset adminAccess = true>

    <p>Admin Access: #adminAccess#</p>

In this example, the isUserInRole() function is used to check if the user has the "administrator" role. However, due to the Improper Access Control vulnerability, this validation check can be bypassed, granting an attacker unauthorized access to sensitive information even if the user is not an administrator.

Exploit Details

To exploit this vulnerability, an attacker needs to craft a malicious request targeting the vulnerable ColdFusion application's administration endpoints. By bypassing the access control mechanisms, the attacker can perform various unauthorized actions such as reading files, modifying configurations or settings, and other potentially harmful activities.

Here is a sample exploit using cURL

curl -i -s -k -X 'GET' \
    -H 'User-Agent: Mozilla/5. (Windows NT 10.; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/70..3538.102 Safari/537.36 Edge/18.19582' \

Note: Replace [TARGET] with the actual target URL.

Original References

Adobe has acknowledged this vulnerability and released security updates for ColdFusion to address and fix this issue. You can find more information about these updates and their corresponding versions below:

- Adobe Security Update for ColdFusion 2018 Update 18
- Adobe Security Update for ColdFusion 2021 Update 8
- Adobe Security Update for ColdFusion 2023 Update 2

To mitigate the risk of this vulnerability, users should promptly apply the appropriate updates to the affected ColdFusion versions. Furthermore, always ensure that your ColdFusion applications are developed using the latest secure coding practices to prevent potential security issues.


The CVE-2023-38205 vulnerability in Adobe ColdFusion poses a serious security risk that could lead to severe consequences, including unauthorized data access or complete system compromise. It is crucial to keep your applications up to date and follow secure coding practices to minimize the potential risks associated with such vulnerabilities.


Published on: 09/14/2023 08:15:00 UTC
Last modified on: 09/14/2023 13:01:00 UTC