A critical remote code execution vulnerability has been found and patched in Sonatype’s Nexus Repository Manager (NXRM), a popular open-source tool that allows developers to manage software components.
The flaw, tracked as CVE-2019-7238, was reported to Sonatype by researchers from Chinese companies Chaitin Tech and Tencent. A patch was released by the vendor on January 11, and Trend Micro on Thursday released technical details on how the vulnerability can be exploited.
The researchers found that a weakness related to insufficient access controls in NXRM, specifically versions 3.6.2 OSS/Pro through 3.14.0, allows an unauthenticated attacker to remotely execute arbitrary code and programs on the host system by sending specially crafted requests. The security hole has been patched with the release of version 3.15.
The flaw has been classified as “critical” (CVSS score of 10) and Trend Micro warns that since it doesn’t require authentication it’s easier for malicious actors to exploit. The risk of exploitation in the wild is also increased by the fact that NXRM has over 150,000 active server installations.
“Repository managers such as NXRM 3 are tools that software developers can use for speed and efficiency. However, as evidenced by vulnerabilities like CVE-2019-7238, such tools can also be susceptible to abuse,” Trend Micro warned. “This highlights the need for continuous monitoring in software development, which involves identifying vulnerabilities and making use of the latest threat intelligence against malware or exploits that take advantage of security flaws.”
In its advisory for CVE-2019-7238, Sonatype said it became aware in late February that third parties were about to publish exploit instructions, but it’s unclear if the company had been referring to Trend Micro. A video showing the exploit in action was posted to YouTube in mid-February.