Exploring CVE-2023-51448: Cacti’s SQL Injection Vulnerability

In the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity, new threats and vulnerabilities continually emerge.

One such recent discovery is CVE-2023-51448, a significant vulnerability that has piqued the interest of cybersecurity professionals worldwide.

This vulnerability is associated with Cacti, a widely-used network monitoring tool, and involves a form of blind SQL injection attack.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at CVE-2023-51448, delving into its complexities and understanding its potential implications.

We will explore how it operates, the challenges it presents to cybersecurity, and the measures that can be taken to mitigate its risks.

The Security Flaw in Cacti 1.2.25

Cacti, a widely used system for operational monitoring and managing faults in various networks, unfortunately, has been found to have a significant security flaw in its 1.2.25 version.

This weakness lies in the form of a Blind SQL Injection (SQLi) vulnerability, which is identified within the feature of SNMP Notification Receivers located in the ‘managers.php’ file.

In simpler terms, this vulnerability could potentially allow an attacker, who has already gained authenticated access with “Settings/Utilities” permissions, to exploit the system.

The attacker could then send a specially crafted HTTP GET request to the endpoint ‘/cacti/managers.php’. This request would contain an SQLi payload, hidden within the ‘selected_graphs_array’ HTTP GET parameter.

This specific type of attack, if successful, could lead to unauthorized access to sensitive information, manipulation of that data, or even control over the whole system.

It’s an alarming situation as it opens up the potential for significant damage to be inflicted on the system, especially considering that, as of the time this was reported, no patches or fixes have been made available to rectify this vulnerability.

Unveiling CVE-2023-51448: A Blind SQL Injection Vulnerability in Cacti

CVE-2023-51448 is a significant vulnerability that has been identified in the network monitoring tool, Cacti.

This vulnerability is a form of blind SQL injection attack, where the attackers do not directly see the outcome of their injected SQL query within the application.

The Mechanism of Blind SQL Injection Attacks

In such attacks, the attackers need to deduce the result based on the application’s response. The term ‘blind’ is used to depict scenarios where the results are not immediately visible to the attacker.

Instead, these results are inferred out-of-band using an oracle – external sources of information like error messages and timing delays.

The Role of Time-Based Oracles

A time-based oracle plays a crucial role in this process. It checks if a certain Boolean condition is met by observing the difference in response times.

For instance, an attacker might be trying to leak the value of a character; the variation in response times would indicate whether their attempt was successful.

The Challenge of Executing Blind SQL Injection Attacks

Despite seeming easy to execute, blind SQL injection attacks are quite challenging to pull off on a large scale due to the intricacies of the attack vector.

However, for an attacker who has managed to gain access to an account with the necessary privileges, exploiting the CVE-2023-51448 vulnerability in Cacti could be done with relative ease.

The Potential for Chaining Vulnerabilities

When it comes to chaining this vulnerability with other existing bugs, a skilled attacker who fulfills the prerequisites for CVE-2023-49084 could potentially carry out CVE-2023-51448 without any significant hurdles.

This highlights how one vulnerability can pave the way for another, leading to a domino effect that can cause extensive damage to the system.

Identifying Systems Running Cacti

Unearthing systems that are operating on Cacti is a process that is far from complicated.

In fact, it can be considered quite straightforward. Individuals with malicious intent can employ tools such as Shodan to probe for live systems that are running on vulnerable versions of Cacti.

The Role of Shodan in Reconnaissance

Shodan, a search engine designed specifically for internet-connected devices, can be a helpful tool in the hands of security professionals. However, in the wrong hands, it can be used to exploit vulnerabilities.

Malicious actors can automate their initial reconnaissance using Shodan to pinpoint systems operating on susceptible versions of Cacti, thereby focusing their harmful activities more effectively.

At the time of this writing, a Shodan search revealed more than 4,000 hosts potentially running on vulnerable versions of Cacti.

The Threat of Blind SQL Technique

The identified vulnerability in Cacti systems, particularly the Blind SQL Injection (SQLi), poses a significant security risk.

With this technique, an attacker can disclose the contents of a Cacti database or even trigger remote code execution (RCE).

The latter allows the attacker to execute arbitrary codes on the target system, potentially leading to complete system compromise.

Mitigating the Risk

Given the severity of the situation, it’s crucial for organizations and individuals running on Cacti to monitor their systems closely.

Until patches or updates are made available to address the vulnerability, it’s recommended to limit the number of users with high-level permissions and increase the security measures surrounding these systems.


Users of the Cacti version 1.2.25 should remain vigilant and monitor their systems closely until an update or patch is released to address this issue.

It’s also recommended to limit the number of users with “Settings/Utilities” permissions as a precautionary measure.

Regular updates and patches can significantly reduce the risk of such attacks.