Security researchers have discovered a critical vulnerability in the 3rd party AV uninstaller module contained in Trend Micro Apex One (on-prem and SaaS), Worry-Free Business Security, and Worry-Free Business Security Services products. This vulnerability, identified as CVE-2023-41179, allows an attacker to manipulate the module to execute arbitrary commands on an affected installation. However, it is essential to note that to exploit this vulnerability, an attacker must first obtain administrative console access on the target system.

Vulnerability Details

CVE-2023-41179 specifically affects the functionality provided by the 3rd party AV uninstaller module, which is responsible for the removal of competing antivirus software during the installation or upgrading of Trend Micro products. Due to insufficient validation and sanitization of user-supplied data, an attacker with administrative console access can manipulate the module to execute arbitrary system commands.

The arbitrary command execution results from the insecure usage of the _system()_ function in the module. The function does not adequately validate or sanitize parameters passed to it, allowing an attacker to inject malicious characters to construct a command string. When the _system()_ function executes the crafted command string, it causes the arbitrary command execution vulnerability.

Consider the following code snippet that simulates the vulnerability

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>

int main(int argc, char *argv[]) {
    // Simulated insecure input handling
    char command[256] = {};
    sprintf(command, "/path/to/uninstaller %s", argv[1]);
    // Insecure usage of the system() function
    int result = system(command);
    return result;

In this code snippet, we can see that the user input (argv[1]) is directly used in constructing the command string without proper validation or sanitization. If an attacker were to provide malicious input via argv[1], it could lead to arbitrary command execution.

Unauthorized access to additional systems through the compromised host

Successful exploitation of CVE-2023-41179 can result in a complete compromise of the affected system, which may further spread the attack to other systems on the network.

Below are some original references about this vulnerability for further reading

1. Trend Micro Security Advisory: CVE-2023-41179 Advisory
2. CVE Description: National Vulnerability Database - CVE-2023-41179

Mitigation and Remediation

Trend Micro has acknowledged the vulnerability and released patches to address the issue. To mitigate the threat from CVE-2023-41179, the following steps are recommended:

Download and apply the relevant security patches from the Trend Micro advisory.

2. Implement strong authentication mechanisms to protect the administrative console from unauthorized access.
3. Apply the principle of least privilege and limit the number of users with administrative access to essential personnel only.


CVE-2023-41179 is a critical vulnerability affecting the 3rd party AV uninstaller module in Trend Micro Apex One, Worry-Free Business Security, and Worry-Free Business Security Services products. Exploitation of this vulnerability can lead to compromised systems and network breaches. It is essential to follow the provided mitigation steps and apply the available security patches to protect your organization from threats arising due to this vulnerability.


Published on: 09/19/2023 14:15:00 UTC
Last modified on: 09/22/2023 15:08:00 UTC