CoNetrix strongly recommends all organizations implement the appropriate updates or mitigation measures for this confirmed vulnerability. CoNetrix has installed updates or implemented the mitigation steps for all affected CoNetrix Technology and Aspire customers.

On December 17, 2019, Citrix announced a directory traversal vulnerability in the Citrix Application Delivery Controller (formerly NetScaler ADC) and Citrix Gateway (formerly NetScaler Gateway) products. If exploited, this vulnerability could allow an unauthenticated attacker to perform arbitrary code execution. This is similar to the Fortigate vulnerability in 2019.

Citrix Security Bulletin:, including information about updates to address this vulnerability.

If you cannot install the updates, Citrix has provided some configuration changes that mitigate the issue:

How to Quickly Check for this Vulnerability

CoNetrix Security penetration testers were able to confirm the vulnerability by checking the response when browsing to a specific URL (https:// <IP address> /vpn/../vpns/cfg/smb.conf). If you perform the same action and are able to read the smb.conf file, this is confirmation that your system is vulnerable. If the mitigation is in place you will receive a 403 Forbidden error (or potentially some other error message). Also, CoNetrix Technology engineers discovered IDS/IPS signatures for this exploit, but they were not set to 'block' by default by the IDS/IPS vendor.

How to Mitigate this Vulnerability

This is being actively exploited in the wild, so we encourage you to install the fixed versions or apply the recommended mitigation steps as quickly as possible.

Steps to Take Post-Mitigation

Remember, it is important to validate the mitigation is working as expected after applying the configuration.

Citrix and FireEye have developed a scanner to detect if your NetScaler installation has been compromised:

Once the mitigation steps have been implemented, here are a few addtional action items: 

  1. Review the systems active processes and connections to the Internet.
  2. Work with Citrix to review system logs for any potentially suspicious connections attempts.
  3. Work with your IDS and/or firewall vendor to review any potentially suspicious connections attempts.
  4. Check for newly created XML files in the /netscaler/portal/ /var/tmp/netscaler/portal/ directories and sub-directories.
  5. Search for and review any newly created files or scripts. Some exploit intel has indicated Perl scripts being added to the /netscaler/portal/scripts/ directory.
  6. Look for any CRON jobs that have been added to provide an attacker persistence even after the vulnerability is patched.

CoNetrix has installed the update for all CoNetrix Technology and Aspire customers. CoNetrix Security has reviewed data collected during penetration tests from the previous year and notified customers that had this vulnerability. If you are not a CoNetrix customer and would like additional information or assistance with implementing these mitigation steps, we encourage you to contact us.