Microsoft warns of nation-state hackers exploiting critical Atlassian Confluence vulnerability

Microsoft has linked the exploit of a recently discovered critical flaw in Atlassian Confluence data centers ....

by Vikash Kumawat
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Microsoft has linked the exploit of a recently discovered critical flaw in Atlassian Confluence data centers and servers to a nation-state actor it tracks as Storm-0062 (aka DarkShadow or Oro0lxy).

The tech giant’s threat intelligence team said it has seen wild abuse of the vulnerability since September 14, 2023.

“CVE-2023-22515 is a critical privilege escalation vulnerability in Atlassian Confluence data centers and servers,” the company noted in a series of posts on  Twitter.

“Any device with a network connection to a vulnerable application can exploit CVE-2023-22515 to create a Confluence administrator account within the application.”

CVE-2023-22515, rated 10.0 on the CVSS severity rating system, allows remote attackers to create unauthorized Confluence administrator accounts and access Confluence servers. The flaw has been addressed in the following versions –

  • 8.3.3 or later
  • 8.4.3 or later, and
  • 8.5.2 (Long Term Support release) or later

Although the exact scale of the attacks is unclear, Atlassian said it was made aware of the problem by “a handful of customers”, implying that the threat actor had used it as a zero-day.

It’s worth noting that Oro0lxy refers to a digital alias created by Li Xiaoyu, a Chinese hacker who was accused by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) in July 2020 of infiltrating “hundreds of companies” in the U.S., Hong Kong, and China, including coronavirus vaccine research developer Moderna.

Xiaoyu, alongside DONG Jiazhi, is said to be assigned to the Guangdong regional division of the Ministry of State Security (MSS).

“In some cases the defendants acted for their own personal financial gain and in others for the benefit of MSS or other Chinese government agencies,” the DOJ said. “Hackers stole terabytes of data containing a sophisticated and massive threat to US networks.”

Organizations that rely on Confluence applications are highly recommended to upgrade to the latest versions to mitigate any potential threats and isolate them from the public internet until resolved.

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