April 19, 2024by Cybersixgill IQ

Critical Atlassian Flaw, CVE-2023-22518, Exploited to Deploy Linux Variant of Cerber Ransomware

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A critical security vulnerability in Atlassian Confluence Data Center and Server, known as CVE-2023-22518, has been exploited by threat actors to deploy a Linux variant of the Cerber ransomware. This flaw allows an unauthenticated attacker to reset Confluence and create an administrator account, granting them full control over affected systems. This article provides an overview of the critical Atlassian flaw, the organizations at the greatest risk, the potential impact, and steps for remediation.

Overview of the Critical Atlassian Flaw

The critical Atlassian flaw, CVE-2023-22518, is an improper authorization vulnerability that affects Atlassian Confluence Data Center and Server. It allows an attacker to reset Confluence and create an administrator account without authentication. This flaw has a CVSS score of 9.1, indicating its severity.

Organizations at the Greatest Risk

Organizations using Atlassian Confluence Data Center and Server are at the greatest risk of exploitation. These include businesses, educational institutions, government agencies, and any other entities that rely on Confluence for content collaboration and management. The flaw affects both on-premises and cloud-based deployments.

Potential Impact

The exploitation of CVE-2023-22518 can have severe consequences for affected organizations. Once an attacker gains administrative access, they can install an Atlassian Web Shell plugin to execute code remotely, pilfer sensitive information from Confluence spaces, or deploy ransomware like the Cerber variant. The Cerber ransomware encrypts files owned by the Confluence user, leading to a loss of confidentiality, integrity, and availability. The financial impact of a ransomware attack can be significant, with organizations potentially facing hefty ransom demands and costly recovery efforts.

Steps for Remediation

To mitigate the risk posed by the critical Atlassian flaw and prevent the deployment of Cerber ransomware, organizations should take the following steps:

  1. Patch Atlassian Confluence: Apply the necessary security patches provided by Atlassian to address the vulnerability. It is crucial to keep Confluence up to date with the latest security updates to protect against known vulnerabilities.

  2. Monitor for Suspicious Activity: Implement robust monitoring and detection mechanisms to identify any unauthorized access attempts or suspicious activity within the Confluence environment. This includes monitoring for the creation of new administrator accounts or the installation of unauthorized plugins.

  3. Remove Unauthorized Accounts and Plugins: Conduct a thorough review of existing accounts and plugins within Confluence. Remove any unauthorized or suspicious accounts and plugins to minimize the attack surface and prevent further exploitation.

  4. Educate Users: Raise awareness among employees and users about the critical Atlassian flaw and the potential risks associated with it. Provide guidance on best practices for password hygiene, avoiding suspicious links or attachments, and reporting any unusual activity.

  5. Implement Least Privilege Principle: Restrict administrative privileges to only those who require them. Implement the principle of least privilege to limit the potential impact of an attacker gaining administrative access.

  6. Regularly Backup Data: Maintain regular backups of critical data stored in Confluence. This ensures that in the event of a ransomware attack, organizations can restore their data without paying the ransom.

  7. Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Enable MFA for all user accounts in Confluence to add an extra layer of security. This helps prevent unauthorized access even if an attacker manages to obtain valid credentials.

  8. Engage with Security Experts: Consider engaging with cybersecurity firms or consultants who specialize in vulnerability assessments and penetration testing. They can help identify any additional security weaknesses and provide recommendations for further hardening the Confluence environment.


The critical Atlassian flaw, CVE-2023-22518, poses a significant risk to organizations using Atlassian Confluence Data Center and Server. Exploitation of this vulnerability can lead to the deployment of the Cerber ransomware, resulting in a loss of confidentiality, integrity, and availability of critical data. By promptly patching Confluence, monitoring for suspicious activity, and implementing security best practices, organizations can mitigate the risk and protect themselves from potential ransomware attacks. It is crucial to stay vigilant, educate users, and regularly update security measures to defend against evolving threats.


“Critical Atlassian Flaw Exploited to Deploy Linux Variant of Cerber Ransomware“ from cybernews_thehackersnews, published on April 17th, 2024 by Apr

“Atlassian Confluence vulnerability under widespread attack“ from cybernews_searchsecurity, published on November 8th, 2023 by anonymous

This article was created using Cybersixgill IQ, our generative AI capability that supports teams with instant report writing, simplifies complex threat data and provides 24/7 assistance, transforming cybersecurity for every industry and every individual, at every level.

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