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Vendor Quickly Patches Serious Vulnerability in NATO-Approved Firewall

A critical vulnerability discovered in a firewall appliance made by Germany-based cybersecurity company Genua could be useful to threat actors once they’ve gained access to an organization’s network, according to Austrian cybersecurity consultancy SEC Consult.

Genua Genugate is a firewall designed for protecting internal networks against external threats, segmenting internal networks, and protecting machine-to-machine communications.

The company claims its Genugate firewall is the only one in the world to receive a “highly resistant” rating from the German government, and says it’s compliant with NATO’s “NATO Restricted” and the European Union’s “RESTREINT UE/EU RESTRICTED” requirements for data protection. The vendor says its products have been used by major industrial, government, military and other critical infrastructure organizations. It told SecurityWeek that most of its customers are European companies. 

SEC Consult on Monday revealed that the Genugate firewall is affected by a critical authentication bypass vulnerability (CVE-2021-27215) in the product’s administration interfaces. An attacker who has network access to an administration interface can exploit the vulnerability to log in to the device’s admin panel as any user — including the root user — regardless of the password they use.

“An attacker is able to gain full admin/root access rights within the admin web interface, which enables reconfiguration of the whole firewall, such as firewall ruleset, email filtering configuration, web application firewall settings, proxy settings, etc,” SEC Consult told SecurityWeek. “For instance, attackers could potentially change the configuration to access otherwise unreachable systems or reroute company traffic to an attacker-controlled proxy server.”

SEC Consult clarified in its advisory, “Certified and approved environments mandate that the admin interface is only reachable through a strictly separated network. Nevertheless, it is a highly critical security vulnerability and must be patched immediately.”

The vulnerability was discovered by Armin Stock of Atos Germany — IT services giant Atos acquired SEC Consult last year. The findings were reported to the vendor in late January 2021 and a patch was released just a few days later. The vulnerability appears to affect all versions of the firewall.

The patch needs to be manually installed. Genua said it initially informed customers about the “necessity and urgency of the patch” via email. Customers who did not install the patch were personally contacted by the company’s support team.

Genua told SecurityWeek it has no information that the vulnerability has been exploited and systems compromised.

SEC Consult has published an advisory describing the vulnerability, but it has not made public proof-of-concept (PoC) code. The company has also posted a video showing how an attack works.

*Updated with information from Genua

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

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