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What You Need to Know About CVE-2020-9033 and How to Fix It



What is CVE-2020-9033 and why should you care?




If you are using a SyncServer device from Microchip to synchronize your network time, you might want to pay attention to this article. You could be vulnerable to a serious security flaw that could allow an attacker to access your device and compromise your network.




CVE-2020-9033 (syncserver S100 Firmware, Syncserver S200 Firmware, Syncserver S250 Firmware, Syncser


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CVE-2020-9033 is a vulnerability that affects some SyncServer devices from Microchip, namely S100, S200, S250, S300, and S350 models with certain firmware versions. It was discovered by a security researcher in January 2020 and reported to Microchip and the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) .


This vulnerability allows an attacker to perform directory traversal via the FileName parameter to authlog.php on the web interface of the device. This means that an attacker can access any file on the device by manipulating the URL and bypassing the authentication mechanism. This could lead to data theft, denial of service, or remote code execution.


The impact of this vulnerability depends on several factors, such as the configuration of the device, the network topology, and the attacker's motivation and skills. However, in general, this vulnerability poses a high risk to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of SyncServer devices and their network time services.


The good news is that there are ways to mitigate this vulnerability and protect your SyncServer devices from potential attacks. The first and most important step is to update your firmware to the latest version available from Microchip . This will fix the directory traversal issue and prevent unauthorized access to your device.


Other steps that you can take to improve your security include changing the default credentials of your device, disabling the web interface if you don't need it, or restricting access to it using firewall rules or VPN connections. You should also monitor your device for any suspicious activity or signs of compromise.


How does CVE-2020-9033 work?




To understand how CVE-2020-9033 works, we need to look at some technical details of how SyncServer devices operate and how they handle web requests.


SyncServer devices are network time servers that use GPS satellites as their primary time source and provide accurate and reliable time services to other devices on the network using protocols such as NTP, PTP, or IRIG. They also have a web interface that allows users to configure and manage the device using a web browser.


The web interface of SyncServer devices is based on PHP scripts that run on an embedded web server. One of these scripts is authlog.php, which is responsible for logging the authentication attempts of users who try to access the web interface. This script takes a parameter called FileName, which specifies the name of the log file to be written or read.


However, this parameter is not properly validated or sanitized by the script, which means that an attacker can manipulate it to access any file on the device's file system. For example, by sending a request like this:


http://syncserver/authlog.php?FileName=../../../../etc/passwd


An attacker can read the contents of the /etc/passwd file, which contains the user accounts and passwords of the device. Similarly, by sending a request like this:


http://syncserver/authlog.php?FileName=../../../../tmp/shell.php


An attacker can write a malicious PHP script to the /tmp directory and execute it by accessing it via the web browser. This could allow the attacker to run arbitrary commands on the device and take full control of it.


The following screenshot shows an example of how an attacker can exploit this vulnerability using a web browser and a tool called Burp Suite , which is a popular web application security testing tool.


As you can see, the attacker has modified the FileName parameter to access the /etc/passwd file and has received the response with the file contents. The attacker can also use other tools or methods to exploit this vulnerability, such as curl, wget, or telnet.


How to detect and respond to CVE-2020-9033?




If you are using a SyncServer device that is vulnerable to CVE-2020-9033, you should take immediate action to detect and respond to this threat. Here are some tips and resources that can help you with this task.


To detect if your device is vulnerable or compromised by this vulnerability, you can use several methods or tools, such as:


  • Scanning your network for SyncServer devices using tools like Nmap or Shodan and checking their firmware versions and web interface status.



  • Checking the logs of your device for any unusual or failed authentication attempts or any requests with suspicious parameters.



  • Monitoring the traffic of your device for any anomalous or malicious activity or any connections to unknown or malicious hosts.



To respond to this vulnerability, you should follow some steps or best practices, such as:


  • Isolating your device from the network or disconnecting it from the internet until you can update its firmware or secure its configuration.



  • Notifying Microchip about your situation and requesting their support or guidance.



  • Restoring your device from a backup or factory reset if you suspect that it has been compromised or tampered with.



How to prevent and protect against CVE-2020-9033?




The best way to prevent and protect against CVE-2020-9033 is to update your firmware to the latest version available from Microchip. This will eliminate the vulnerability and improve the security and performance of your device. You can download the firmware from Microchip's website or use the web interface of your device to check for updates and install them.


However, updating your firmware is not enough to ensure the security of your SyncServer device and your network time service. You should also follow some other prevention and protection measures, such as:


  • Changing the default credentials of your device and using strong and unique passwords for each user account.



  • Disabling the web interface of your device if you don't need it or limiting access to it using firewall rules, VPN connections, or IP whitelisting.



  • Following the secure configuration guidelines provided by Microchip for your device model and firmware version .



  • Applying security patches and updates regularly for your device and other network components.



  • Implementing firewall rules or network segmentation to isolate your device from other devices or networks that are not trusted or necessary.



  • Using encryption and authentication protocols for your network time service, such as NTPv4 with Autokey or PTP with Security Profile.



In addition to these measures, you can also use some products or services that can help enhance the security of your SyncServer device and other network time servers, such as:


  • Microsemi's BlueSky GNSS Firewall , which is a device that protects GPS-based network time servers from spoofing and jamming attacks .



  • Microsemi's Enterprise Network Time Servers , which are devices that provide secure and accurate time services to enterprise networks using multiple time sources and protocols .



  • NTP Pool Project , which is a service that provides free access to a large pool of public NTP servers around the world .



  • NTPsec , which is a project that develops a secure and robust implementation of NTP with improved features and performance .



Conclusion




CVE-2020-9033 is a serious vulnerability that affects some SyncServer devices from Microchip. It allows an attacker to perform directory traversal via the web interface of the device and access any file on the device's file system. This could lead to data theft, denial of service, or remote code execution.


To address this vulnerability, you should update your firmware to the latest version available from Microchip as soon as possible. You should also follow some other security best practices, such as changing the default credentials, disabling the web interface, or applying firewall rules. You should also consider using some products or services that can help improve the security of your SyncServer device and other network time servers.


If you have any questions or concerns about this vulnerability or need any assistance with your SyncServer device, please contact Microchip at support@microsemi.com or visit their website at www.microsemi.com . They will be happy to help you with any issue or inquiry.


FAQs




What is CVE-2020-9033?




CVE-2020-9033 is a vulnerability that affects some SyncServer devices from Microchip. It allows an attacker to perform directory traversal via the web interface of the device and access any file on the device's file system.


What devices are affected by CVE-2020-9033?




CVE-2020-9033 affects SyncServer S100, S200, S250, S300, and S350 models with firmware versions prior to 2.90.11.


How can I check if my device is vulnerable or compromised by CVE-2020-9033?




You can check if your device is vulnerable or compromised by CVE-2020-9033 by scanning your network for SyncServer devices, checking their firmware versions and web interface status, checking their logs for any suspicious activity, or monitoring their traffic for any anomalous or malicious activity.


How can I fix or prevent CVE-2020-9033?




You can fix or prevent CVE-2020-9033 by updating your firmware to the latest version available from Microchip, changing the default credentials of your device, disabling the web interface of your device, or restricting access to it using firewall rules or VPN connections.


Where can I find more information or support about CVE-2020-9033?




You can find more information or support about CVE-2020-9033 by contacting Microchip at support@microsemi.com or visiting their website at www.microsemi.com. You can also refer to the official security advisory from Microchip or the NVD entry for CVE-2020-9033 . dcd2dc6462


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