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             AUSCERT External Security Bulletin Redistribution

            CVE-2021-3041 Cortex XDR Agent: Improper control of
         user-controlled file leads to local privilege escalation
                               10 June 2021


        AusCERT Security Bulletin Summary

Product:           Cortex XDR Agent
Publisher:         Palo Alto
Operating System:  Windows
Impact/Access:     Increased Privileges -- Existing Account
Resolution:        Patch/Upgrade
CVE Names:         CVE-2021-3041  

Original Bulletin: 

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Palo Alto Networks Security Advisories / CVE-2021-3041

CVE-2021-3041 Cortex XDR Agent: Improper control of user-controlled file leads
to local privilege escalation

Severity 7.8 . HIGH
Attack Vector LOCAL
Attack Complexity LOW
Privileges Required LOW
User Interaction NONE
Confidentiality Impact HIGH
Integrity Impact HIGH
Availability Impact HIGH
Published 2021-06-09
Updated 2021-06-09
Reference CPATR-12634, CPATR-12507 and CPATR-11927
Discovered internally


A local privilege escalation vulnerability exists in the Palo Alto Networks
Cortex XDR agent on Windows platforms that enables an authenticated local
Windows user to execute programs with SYSTEM privileges.

This requires the user to have the privilege to create files in the Windows
root directory or to manipulate key registry values.

This issue impacts:

Cortex XDR agent 5.0 versions earlier than Cortex XDR agent 5.0.11;

Cortex XDR agent 6.1 versions earlier than Cortex XDR agent 6.1.8;

Cortex XDR agent 7.2 versions earlier than Cortex XDR agent 7.2.3;

All versions of Cortex XDR agent 7.2 without content update release 171 or a
later version.

Product Status

   Versions                Affected                        Unaffected
Cortex XDR     < 7.2.3 or without content update >= 7.2.3 with content update
Agent 7.2      171 or later                      171 or later
Cortex XDR     < 6.1.8                           >= 6.1.8
Agent 6.1
Cortex XDR     < 5.0.11                          >= 5.0.11
Agent 5.0

Severity: HIGH

CVSSv3.1 Base Score: 7.8 (CVSS:3.1/AV:L/AC:L/PR:L/UI:N/S:U/C:H/I:H/A:H)

Exploitation Status

Palo Alto Networks is not aware of any malicious exploitation of this issue.

Weakness Type

CWE-427 Uncontrolled Search Path Element


This issue is fixed in Cortex XDR agent 5.0.11, Cortex XDR agent 6.1.8, Cortex
XDR agent 7.2.3, and all later Cortex XDR agent versions.

Content updates are required to resolve this issue and are automatically
applied for the agent.

Workarounds and Mitigations

This issue is mitigated by preventing local authenticated Windows users from
creating files in the Windows root directory (such as C:\) and ensuring they
are unable to manipulate the Windows registry.


This issue was found by Robert McCallum of Palo Alto Networks during internal
security review.


2021-06-09 Initial publication
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(C) 2020 Palo Alto Networks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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