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How to fix CVE-2023-50164 in Apache Struts2

CVE-2023-50164 is a critical vulnerability in Apache Struts2, affecting users worldwide. Here's how you can fix it.

Yair Divinsky | December 11, 2023

CVE-2023-50164, a critical vulnerability in several versions of the Apache Struts framework, can allow an attacker to upload a malicious file and potentially gain remote code execution.

Here’s everything you need to know. 

What is CVE-2023-50164? 

Known as CVE-2023-50164, a new critical security vulnerability has been discovered in Apache Struts2, an open-source Model-View-Controller (MVC) framework widely used for building Java web applications. This vulnerability poses a severe threat as it could potentially allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary code on affected servers. Apache swiftly addressed this issue with security updates. 

The vulnerability originates from how Apache Struts2 handles file upload parameters. An attacker, without authentication, can exploit this flaw to perform unauthorized path traversal. By exploiting this vulnerability, an attacker could navigate through the server’s directory structure and upload a malicious file, ultimately leading to remote code execution. 

Does CVE-2023-50164 affect me? 

CVE-2023-50164 affects users of systems that utilize any of the following versions of Apache Struts: 

  1. Apache Struts 2.0.0 through 2.5.32 
  1. Apache Struts 6.0.0 through 

Has CVE-202350164 been actively exploited in the wild? 

No specific instances of active exploitation have been disclosed yet. However, considering the severity of the vulnerability, prompt action is highly recommended to prevent potential exploitation. 

How to fix CVE-2023-50164 

The Apache Struts project urges to perform mitigation to the vulnerability by upgrading to one of the patched versions: 

  1. Apache Struts 2.5.33 
  1. Apache Struts or later 

For detailed information and guidance on mitigating this vulnerability, refer to the Apache Struts2 Security Advisory. 

While the information provided offers crucial insights into the vulnerability, it would be beneficial to include further details on potential exploitation scenarios or examples of how attackers might leverage this vulnerability. Deeper technical analysis or real-world instances of exploitation could provide a more comprehensive understanding of the issue. Incorporating such information would enhance the blog’s value for security professionals and system administrators seeking a detailed grasp of CVE-2023-50164. 

Next steps

Each new vulnerability is a reminder of where we stand, and what we need to do better. Check out the following resources to help you maintain cyber hygiene and stay ahead of the threat actors: 

  1. Announcing the Attack Path Graph for end-to-end risk prioritization
  2. The Q3 2023 Vulnerability Watch report
  3. MITRE ATTACK framework – Mapping techniques to CVEs  
  4. Exploit maturity: an introduction  
  5. IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach report 2023 – what we learned

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