Home > Cyber News > ProxyToken (CVE-2021-33766) Exploit Allows Attackers to Read Your Mail

ProxyToken (CVE-2021-33766) Exploit Allows Attackers to Read Your Mail

ProxyToken, or CVE-2021-33766 is a serious security vulnerability in Microsoft Exchange that could allow an unauthenticated threat actor to access and steal emails from the victim’s mailbox.

The issue was reported to the Zero Day Initiative in March 2021 by researcher Le Xuan Tuyen of VNPT ISC, and it was patched by Microsoft in the July 2021 Exchange cumulative updates.

More specifically, ProxyToken could allow an unauthenticated attacker to perform configuration actions on mailboxes. In terms of impact, the flaw could be abused to copy all emails addressed to a target, and forward them to an attacker-controlled account.

What causes the ProxyToken (CVE-2021-33766) vulnerability?

The flaw stems from a specific feature called Delegated Authentication, which passes authentication requests from the front end to the back end. The requests contain a SecurityToken cookie for identification purposes. If the front end discovers a non-empty cookie titled SecurityToken, it delegates authentication to the back end. It is noteworthy that Microsoft Exchange has to be specifically configured to have the back end perform the authentication, whereas in a default configuration, the DelegatedAuthModule module responsible for that isn’t loaded.

“In summary, when the front end sees the SecurityToken cookie, it knows that the back end alone is responsible for authenticating this request. Meanwhile, the back end is completely unaware that it needs to authenticate some incoming requests based upon the SecurityToken cookie, since the DelegatedAuthModule is not loaded in installations that have not been configured to use the special delegated authentication feature. The net result is that requests can sail through, without being subjected to authentication on either the front or back end,” according to Zero Day Initiative’s report.

The ProxyToken exploit requires the attacker to have an account on the same Exchange server as the victim. The exploit installs a forwarding rule allowing the attacker to read all the victim’s incoming messages.

“On some Exchange installations, an administrator may have set a global configuration value that permits forwarding rules having arbitrary Internet destinations, and in that case, the attacker does not need any Exchange credentials at all. Furthermore, since the entire /ecp site is potentially affected, various other means of exploitation may be available as well,” the report notes.

The ProxyToken exploit is another addition to a series of Microsoft Exchange exploits, including ProxyLogon, ProxyShell, and ProxyOracle.

Milena Dimitrova

An inspired writer and content manager who has been with SensorsTechForum since the project started. A professional with 10+ years of experience in creating engaging content. Focused on user privacy and malware development, she strongly believes in a world where cybersecurity plays a central role. If common sense makes no sense, she will be there to take notes. Those notes may later turn into articles! Follow Milena @Milenyim

More Posts

Follow Me:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using our website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.
I Agree