ClickCease BIG-IP Vulnerability Alert: Remote Code Execution Risk

Content Table

Join Our Popular Newsletter

Join 4,500+ Linux & Open Source Professionals!

2x a month. No spam.

BIG-IP Vulnerability Alert: Remote Code Execution Risk

Wajahat Raja

November 9, 2023 - TuxCare expert team

In recent news, F5 has issued a critical security alert regarding a significant BIG-IP vulnerability that poses a severe risk to their BIG-IP systems. This vulnerability, rated at 9.8 out of 10 on the Common Vulnerabilities Scoring System (CVSS), allows unauthenticated remote code execution, potentially exposing these systems to malicious actors. Let’s delve deeper into this critical issue to understand its implications and how to safeguard against it.


Understanding BIG-IP Vulnerability

F5’s BIG-IP is a robust system, combining both software and hardware elements. It primarily focuses on access control, application availability, and security solutions. This powerful system plays a crucial role in managing network traffic and ensuring the smooth functioning of applications.

The Vulnerability Unveiled – CVE-2022-1388

The vulnerability in question is formally identified as CVE-2022-1388, and it possesses a
staggering severity rating of 9.8. This alarming rating underlines the potential damage that could be inflicted if exploited. The BIG-IP security flaw resides within the representational state transfer (REST) interface of the iControl framework. This interface is responsible for communication between F5 devices and users.

The Risks and Capabilities

Malicious actors, given network access, can send undisclosed requests through this REST interface. Leveraging
F5 BIG-IP security vulnerability, they can circumvent iControl REST authentication, gaining access to the BIG-IP system. The consequences are severe – unauthorized execution of arbitrary commands, file creation or deletion, and even disabling servers. Essentially, the attackers gain control over the system, which is a grave concern.

F5 emphasizes that this vulnerability pertains to the control plane, meaning it doesn’t expose the data plane. In simpler terms, it affects the system’s management and control but not the actual data transmission.

Alert from Cyber Security Authorities

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has issued an alert, urging all users to take immediate action by applying the
latest updates on BIG-IP security issues to safeguard their systems. This alert underscores the seriousness of the situation.

Affected Versions

BIG-IP vulnerability assessment
indicated that the vulnerability impacts several versions of the BIG-IP product, specifically:

  • 17.0.0
  • 13.1.5

Unfortunately, F5 will not be introducing fixes for versions 11.x (11.6.1 – 11.6.5) and 12.x (12.1.0 – 12.1.6), so users of these versions need to be especially cautious.

Protective Measures

For those unable to implement security patches immediately, F5 recommends three temporary mitigation methods:

  1. Blocking iControl REST Access through Self IP Addresses: This can be achieved by altering the Port Lockdown settings to “Allow None” for each self-IP address within the system. This will help in preventing unauthorized access through this avenue.
  2. Restricting iControl REST Access through the Management Interface: Another option is to restrict access through the management interface. By implementing this measure, you limit the potential entry points for malicious actors.
  3. Modifying BIG-IP httpd Configuration: A more technically involved approach is modifying the BIG-IP httpd configuration. While this may require some expertise, it can enhance the system’s security.

Broader Implications

It’s crucial to recognize that BIG-IP devices are widely integrated into various enterprises. Consequently, there’s a significant risk of widespread attacks. Security researcher Nate Warfield highlighted this by revealing that nearly 16,000
BIG-IP devices are exposed to the internet. This exposure is particularly pronounced in the USA, China, India, and Australia. These systems are frequently associated with corporations like Microsoft, Google, DigitalOcean, and Linode.

Additional F5 Advisory

F5 has also issued a more comprehensive advisory addressing 17 high-severity vulnerabilities that were discovered and resolved within the BIG-IP system. This underlines the importance of keeping F5 systems up-to-date and secure.

Recalling Past Vulnerabilities

This recent alert serves as a reminder of the critical nature of securing F5 BIG-IP systems. In July 2020, a critical remote code execution (RCE) bug left thousands of BIG-IP users vulnerable to potential attacks. It’s evident that ongoing vigilance and timely action are imperative to protect these systems.


In conclusion, the F5 BIG-IP vulnerability is a matter of utmost concern. Its high severity rating and the potential for remote code execution necessitate
unwavering cybersecurity protocols. Users are strongly encouraged to apply the required updates in protecting against BIG-IP vulnerabilities. For those unable to do so immediately, the temporary mitigation methods provided by F5 should be implemented without delay. Staying one step ahead and taking prompt actions are essential to keep BIG-IP systems secure in the face of evolving threats.

The sources for this piece include articles in The Hacker News and Threatpost

BIG-IP Vulnerability Alert: Remote Code Execution Risk
Article Name
BIG-IP Vulnerability Alert: Remote Code Execution Risk
Stay protected against BIG-IP Vulnerability. Learn about the critical risks and preventive measures. Secure your system now!
Publisher Name
Publisher Logo

Looking to automate vulnerability patching without kernel reboots, system downtime, or scheduled maintenance windows?

Learn About Live Patching with TuxCare

Become a TuxCare Guest Writer

Get started




Linux & Open Source

Subscribe to
our newsletter