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Solarwinds LEM Insecure Update Process

Solarwinds LEM Insecure Update Process
Posted Sep 26, 2017
Authored by Hank Leininger

Software updates for Solarwinds products are packaged and delivered insecurely, leading to root compromise of Solarwinds devices.

tags | advisory, root
MD5 | 80fc94af19356ab49a171c02ae5a06b3

Solarwinds LEM Insecure Update Process

Change Mirror Download
KL-001-2017-016 : Solarwinds LEM Insecure Update Process

Title: Solarwinds LEM Insecure Update Process
Advisory ID: KL-001-2017-016
Publication Date: 2017.09.25
Publication URL:

1. Vulnerability Details

Affected Vendor: Solarwinds
Affected Product: Multiple
Affected Version: Multiple
Platform: Embedded Linux
CWE Classification: CWE-284: Improper Access Control, CWE-346: Origin Validation Error
Impact: Counterfeit Product Downloads
Attack vector: HTTP

2. Vulnerability Description

Software updates for Solarwinds products are packaged and
delivered insecurely, leading to root compromise of Solarwinds

3. Technical Description

Software updates for Solarwinds products are typically downloaded
via plaintext HTTP links, consisting of a .zip file with no
corresponding PGP signature or even SHA256 checksum.

An attacker able to redirect, phish, or man-in-the-middle downloads
of update files could plant backdoors in Solarwinds systems.
If Solarwinds device administrators are permitted to initiate
upgrades but not granted root shell access (such as via a restricted
management shell only), this can also be used to elevate privileges
to gain unrestricted root access.

Some examples from official Solarwinds forums and support pages: points to,
which includes some data files and a perl script,
(and many others), which contains a single .bin file that is a
shell script with an embedded compressed .tar file. ->,
which contains data files and driver scripts for both Linux
(Patch/ and Windows (Patch/STM Patch.bat). ->,
contains a single .bin file that is a shell script with an embedded
compressed .tar file.

Windows-centric software is also accessed via HTTP links, and
consist of .zip files containing .exe files. No analysis was done
to check if these .exe's are signed, etc., although a user could
likely be duped into running an an executable without a signature or
signed by a bogus certificate. is Akamai-hosted, and attempting to
force HTTPS results in a certificate name mismatch (i.e. customers
cannot simply elect to use a less insecure download URL).

4. Mitigation and Remediation Recommendation

The vendor has addressed these issues and provided the following
statement: We have obtained digital certificates for our
download webpages and have updated our URL links accordingly
to HTTPS. Additionally, we have already enabled checksums
for many of our products on our federal sites and are working
towards publishing checksums on our commercial download pages.

5. Credit

This vulnerability was discovered by Hank Leininger of
KoreLogic, Inc.

6. Disclosure Timeline

2017.08.11 - KoreLogic submits vulnerability report to Solarwinds
2017.08.16 - Solarwinds acknowledges receipt of the report.
2017.08.18 - Solarwinds informs KoreLogic they will begin working
on remediation.
2017.09.07 - Solarwinds informs KoreLogic the issues have been
addressed and provides the statement that appears in
section 4 of this advisory.
2017.09.25 - KoreLogic public disclosure.

7. Proof of Concept

See 3. Technical Description

The contents of this advisory are copyright(c) 2017
KoreLogic, Inc. and are licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution Share-Alike 4.0 (United States) License:

KoreLogic, Inc. is a founder-owned and operated company with a
proven track record of providing security services to entities
ranging from Fortune 500 to small and mid-sized companies. We
are a highly skilled team of senior security consultants doing
by-hand security assessments for the most important networks in
the U.S. and around the world. We are also developers of various
tools and resources aimed at helping the security community.

Our public vulnerability disclosure policy is available at:


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