CVE-2024–23897 – Arbitrary file read in Jenkins

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CVE-2024–23897 is a critical vulnerability discovered in Jenkins, with a high CVSS score of 9.8. This vulnerability allows the attacker to read files in the system through Command-Line Interface (CLI) for script and shell interaction, relying on the args4j library to parse commands. However, a vulnerability in this library permits unauthenticated users to read initial file lines and authenticated users to access entire files, putting many companies at risk. This is because Jenkins is an open-source solution that helps developers automate tasks. In this analysis, we will go through the steps and conditions for this vulnerability in detail.

Building the Testing Environment for Jenkins Vulnerability Analysis

1- Update and upgrade the system 

Sudo apt-get update update; sudo apt-get upgrade

2- Installing docker

Sudo apt-get install

3- Pull the vulnerable docker images 

Sudo docker pull jenkins/jenkins:2.426.2-jdk17

4- Run the docker image

 Sudo docker run -e p 8080:8080 -p jenkins/jenkins:2.426.2-jdk17

Now visit 

Jenkins initial setup instructions to run a Docker image and the password to log in.

And it’s already up, so after copying the provided admin password, you can continue the process

Choose “Install suggested plugins”. It’s okay to go with the default configuration  

Getting started with customized Jenkins

Wait until the installation is finished.

Jenkins startup: Install plugins (folders, timestamper, pipeline, Git)

It’s now ready to start the analysis 

Jenkins setup successfully done.

Reproducing the Vulnerability

After downloading the CLI from /jnlpJars/jenkins-cli.jar ,

In caseAllow anonymous read access isdisabled, follow this.

After capturing the traffic through Wireshark, the request was as follows:

This is a simple POST request to the “/cli” endpoint with a remoting=false parameter with the session header and side, which is a custom header.

The response contained only one line of the /etc/passwd.

In case Allow anonymous read access is Enabled..

Allow anonymous read access is Enabled

By running 

In Wireshark 

Also, attackers can read user passwords by reading the /var/jenkins_home/users/users.xml  file which contains information about as shown in the following screengrab.

Security vulnerability in Jenkins: /var/jenkins_home/users/users.xml file exposed

java -jar jenkins-cli.jar -s http://localhost:8080/ -http connect-node “@/var/jenkins_home/users/admin1_14933008246101305485/config.xml”

And then take the value from the passwordHash element.

Jenkins password hash element in configuration file

After cracking it with John the ripper tool using rockyou.txt wordlist..

Password cracking with Ripper tool

Patch diffing 

After taking a look at the patch, we can see the file which was edited was as shown below:

Code snippet showing changes made to file

The patch disabled this feature and set the default value of AllowAtSyntax to false to avoid the file reading vulnerability.

The analysis

Simply by looking source code of Jenkins, it can be seen that the code imports three methods from the args4j library 

Analysis of Jenkins code: imports from args4j library

After cloning the args4j-site-2.33 and reviewing CmdLineParser method,

Note: I will go through only CmdLineParser, because other functions are not important to trace this vulnerability.

By taking a look at parseArgument..

Code snippet showing CmdLineParser method from args4j library

This method is responsible for handling the input taken from the user. It checks if args contain SyntaxAt(@) and if it does, it passes the input to the expandAtFiles method.

So, let’s take a look at the expandAtFiles method.

Java code snippet: expandAtFiles method handling user input with @ symbol

Basically, the following code checks if the args start with @.  It will read  all the lines on the file and there is no authentication. 


As explained in the analysis, third parties play an important role in attack scenarios. As shown in this analysis, the main vector used an outdated library (args4j) to perform crucial functions like parsing command lines without checking authentication, leading to file reads. Therefore, we should consider that even third-party apps can be the main vector of vulnerabilities.


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