SharePoint’s Vulnerability and Microsoft’s Slow Response: A Closer Look

SharePoint's Vulnerability and Microsoft's Slow Response
Uncover the risks of SharePoint vulnerabilities CVE-2023-29357 and CVE-2023-24955 and why Microsoft's slow response is a growing concern for cybersecurity.

In recent times, the cybersecurity landscape has been abuzz with concerns over Microsoft SharePoint’s vulnerabilities, specifically CVE-2023-29357 and CVE-2023-24955. These concerns have been magnified due to Microsoft’s perceived slow pace in addressing the critical issues, raising alarm bells across organizations worldwide.

The critical vulnerability, CVE-2023-29357, was identified as an elevation of privilege flaw that, when exploited, could allow attackers to bypass authentication mechanisms and impersonate SharePoint users. This flaw, alongside CVE-2023-24955, which allows remote code execution, poses a significant risk to SharePoint servers, potentially granting attackers unauthorized access to sensitive data and system controls.

The discovery of these vulnerabilities and their potential for exploitation were highlighted during the Zero Day Initiative’s Pwn2Own contest in Vancouver, where researcher Nguyễn Tiến Giang and his team from StarLabs SG demonstrated a meticulously crafted exploit chain. Despite their efforts and the subsequent publication of a technical write-up including proof-of-concept (PoC) code, Microsoft’s response has been criticized for not being swift enough to mitigate these threats adequately.

Compounding the issue is the nature of SharePoint logs themselves, which can be bypassed or evaded by skilled attackers, making detection and prevention of exploits more challenging. This situation has prompted advisories from cybersecurity entities like CISA, urging immediate patching of the vulnerabilities and underscoring the active exploitation of CVE-2023-29357 in attacks targeting SharePoint servers.

Organizations have been reminded that simply applying general updates won’t suffice; SharePoint-specific patches are necessary to ensure comprehensive protection. The complexity of chaining CVE-2023-29357 with CVE-2023-24955 to achieve remote code execution has been a focal point of concern, illustrating the sophisticated nature of the threat and the level of effort required for a successful exploit.

Moreover, the situation is exacerbated by SharePoint’s common security pitfalls, such as uncontrolled site sharing, insufficient data loss prevention policies, and too many administrators, among others. These vulnerabilities underscore the need for stringent security practices and awareness among SharePoint site owners and administrators to safeguard against potential breaches.

The slow response to these vulnerabilities highlights a critical gap in cybersecurity practices and the urgent need for more proactive measures in patching and securing enterprise systems like SharePoint. As organizations navigate the complexities of modern cybersecurity threats, the call for vendors like Microsoft to expedite their response to vulnerabilities has never been more critical, ensuring that the digital infrastructure remains secure against evolving threats.

For detailed information on these vulnerabilities and expert recommendations, the insights provided by sources such as The Register, SecurityWeek, Tenable, and Spectral provide a comprehensive overview and technical analysis of the risks posed by CVE-2023-29357 and CVE-2023-24955 to SharePoint servers​​.

About the author

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Shweta Bansal

Shweta, a tech journalist from New Delhi, specializes in AI and IOT. Her insightful articles, featured in leading tech publications, blend complex tech trends with engaging narratives, emphasizing the role of women in tech.

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