Since September 14, 2023, Microsoft has identified a Chinese-backed threat group named ‘Storm-0062’ actively exploiting a critical privilege escalation zero-day in Atlassian Confluence Data Center and Server. While Atlassian had alerted its customers about the active exploitation of CVE-2023-22515 on October 4, 2023, they had not provided specific details regarding the threat groups behind these attacks.
Microsoft Threat Intelligence analysts have now revealed more information about Storm-0062’s involvement in exploiting CVE-2023-22515, posting the associated IP addresses on Twitter. Storm-0062, connected to China’s Ministry of State Security, is notorious for targeting various sectors, including software, engineering, medical research, government, defense, and tech firms across the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Europe, for intelligence gathering.
Despite Atlassian making security updates available in early October, Storm-0062 managed to exploit the flaw as a zero-day vulnerability for almost three weeks. During this time, the attackers created arbitrary administrator accounts on exposed endpoints. Storm-0062 is well-known for its state-sponsored hacking activities, and it was previously charged by the United States in July 2020 for stealing large volumes of data through hacking government organizations and companies worldwide.The exploitation of
CVE-2023-22515 appears to have been limited, according to data collected by cybersecurity company Greynoise. However, the release of a proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit and detailed technical information by Rapid7 researchers could alter the threat landscape significantly.
Rapid7 analysts demonstrated how attackers could bypass existing security checks within Confluence, using a cURL command to send a crafted HTTP request to vulnerable endpoints, creating new administrator users with passwords known to the attacker. The detailed report also includes a method to ensure other users do not receive notifications about the compromise, making the exploitation stealthy.
A week has passed since Atlassian issued security updates for the affected products, providing users with ample time to respond to the situation before the PoC exploit became publicly available.To miti
gate the vulnerability (CVE-2023-22515), it is recommended that users upgrade to one of the following fixed Atlassian Confluence releases: 8.3.3 or later, 8.4.3 or later, or 8.5.2 (Long-Term Support release) or later. Importantly, Confluence Data Center and Server versions before 8.0.0 are not affected by the flaw, meaning users of older releases do not need to take action.
Additionally, Atlassian-hosted instances at atlassian.net domains are not susceptible to these attacks. Users can find more information on indicators of compromise, upgrade instructions, and a comprehensive list of affected product versions in Atlassian’s security bulletin.