F5 is warning of active abuse of a critical security flaw in BIG-IP less than a week after its public disclosure, resulting in the execution of arbitrary system commands as part of an exploit chain.

Tracked as CVE-2023-46747 (CVSS score: 9.8), the vulnerability allows an unauthenticated attacker with network access to the BIG-IP system through the management port to achieve code execution. A proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit has since been made available by ProjectDiscovery.

It impacts the following versions of the software –

  • 17.1.0 (Fixed in + Hotfix-BIGIP-
  • 16.1.0 – 16.1.4 (Fixed in + Hotfix-BIGIP-
  • 15.1.0 – 15.1.10 (Fixed in + Hotfix-BIGIP-
  • 14.1.0 – 14.1.5 (Fixed in + Hotfix-BIGIP-
  • 13.1.0 – 13.1.5 (Fixed in + Hotfix-BIGIP-

Now the company is alerting that it has “observed threat actors using this vulnerability to exploit CVE-2023-46748,” which refers to an authenticated SQL injection vulnerability in the BIG-IP Configuration utility.

“This vulnerability may allow an authenticated attacker with network access to the Configuration utility through the BIG-IP management port and/or self IP addresses to execute arbitrary system commands,” F5 noted in an advisory for CVE-2023-46748 (CVSS score: 8.8).

In other words, bad actors are chaining the two flaws to run arbitrary system commands. To check for indicators of compromise (IoCs) associated with the SQL injection flaw, users are recommended to check the /var/log/tomcat/catalina.out file for suspicious entries like below –

java.sql.SQLException: Column not found: 0.
sh: no job control in this shell
sh-4.2$ exit.

The Shadowserver Foundation, in a post on X (formerly Twitter), said it has been “seeing F5 BIG-IP CVE-2023-46747 attempts in our honeypot sensors” since October 30, 2023, making it imperative that users move quickly to apply the fixes.

The development has also promoted the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to add the two flaws to its Known Exploited Vulnerabilities (KEV) catalog, based on evidence of active exploitation. Federal agencies are mandated to apply the vendor-provided patches by November 21, 2023.