Cybersecurity researchers from Rapid7 have warned recently that a critical remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability has been found in the currently patched GitLab web interface. And this vulnerability is actively exploited in cyberattacks, making many Internet-connected GitLab instances vulnerable to attack. 

While this vulnerability has been tracked as CVE-2021-22205, and it is an unauthenticated remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability.

After investigating it thoroughly, it has been claimed that this issue is related to improper validation of user-supplied images that are commencing arbitrary code execution remotely. 

  • CVE: CVE-2021-22205
  • Vendor Advisory: GitLab Advisory
  • IVM Content: Evaluating
  • Patching Urgency: ASAP
  • Last Update: November 1, 2021

Here we have mentioned all the patched versions below:-

  • 13.10.3
  • 13.9.6
  • 13.8.8

Exploit in the wild

When the threat actors first noted some glimpse of this attack that they have initially commenced exploiting internet-facing GitLab servers in June 2021, with the motive of creating new users and giving them all the admin rights.

Apart from this. in this exploit the threat actors don’t require to verify or use a CSRF token; not only this, but they also don’t require a valid HTTP endpoint to use the exploit.

Despite the availability of patches for more than six months, there is only 21% of the 60,000 internet-connected GitLab installations are fully patched for this particular issue.

However, the remaining 50% are still acknowledged to be vulnerable to RCE attacks. Therefore, the security experts have suggested each, and every user upgrades their GitLab to the most advanced version as soon as possible.

  • 21% of installs are fully patched against this issue.
  • 50% of installs are not patched against this issue.
  • 29% of installs may or may not be vulnerable.


However, Rapid7’s emergent threat response team has provided a full technical analysis of CVE-2021-22205. And they have strongly recommended all the GitLab users immediately update their vulnerable version to the latest version of GitLab.

Moreover, GitLab should not be used as a direct internet-facing service, in case if any users need to access their GitLab from the internet, they should consider placing it behind a VPN.

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Posted by Charlie