Security Advisory

A10 Vulnerability to "Shellshock Bash" #CVE-2014-6271
Published: September 24, 2014
Last Update: February 17, 2020

On September 24, 2014, CVE-2014-6271 [1]  was published, revealing a major issue with the way GNU Bash processes environment variables. More specifically, Bash does not properly parse functions passed in environment variables, allowing trailing code to be executed in the Bash context. This allows an attacker to execute arbitrary code by properly crafting environment variables.

In general, this bug can be triggered over the network without authentication, which makes it extremely sensitive, and is currently ranked with the highest possible CVSS v2 base score of 10, according to the National Vulnerability Database.

A10 Networks has not been able to replicate this condition remotely with A10 Thunder, AX, ID, or EX Series products. However, we are still researching several corner cases and we will update this advisory as we have new information.

However, local exploitation is possible, and we will be, therefore, providing patches to address this issue (see below for information on how to download patches).

There is an ongoing discussion of additional issues stemming from the way Bash parses variable content that are currently tracked under CVE-2014-7169 [2]. Our team is continuously monitoring those developments and, if A10 products are deemed to be vulnerable to any of the issues addressed in CVE-2014-7169, A10 will provide patches for those as well.


Item# Vulnerability ID Score Source Score Summary
1 CVE-2014-6271 CVSS 2.0 10.0 Critical bash: specially-crafted environment variables can be used to inject shell commands [1]


GNU Bash through version 4.3 is affected with this vulnerability.

Vulnerable versions of Bash are used in A10’s products. Our engineers have been able to validate that in the current configuration, it is possible to execute and trigger this vulnerability locally. For most deployments, this is not an issue since access to the systems is usually authenticated and the operator is already at the highest level of privileges.

We are further investigating the issue and will provide updates as we complete our investigation.

From the point of view of remote exploitation, there are a couple of mitigating factors that suggest this vulnerability may not be triggered; however, we cannot rule this out as a possibility.

The first factor is that none of our web-based management processes use the CGI interface, nor do our other management processes spawn Bash to perform their tasks. This makes it very unlikely that a tainted variable will propagate and be provided in environments where Bash will be executed.

The second mitigating factor is that none of the management interfaces are exposed to the data plane. At this point, the only point of contact would be the management plane which, by definition, is much better guarded and access is limited.

Affected Releases

The table below indicates releases of ACOS exposed to this vulnerability and ACOS releases that address them. ACOS release families not indicated below are unaffected by these vulnerabilities.

Customers using affected ACOS releases can overcome vulnerability exposures by updating to the indicated resolved release. If the table does not list a corresponding resolved or unaffected release, then no ACOS release update is currently available.

ADC release families prior to version 2.6.1-GR1 and 2.7.x are vulnerable. CGN release families prior to 2.6.6-GR1 and 2.8.x are vulnerable to this exploit. TPS release families prior to 2.9.1 are vulnerable to this exploit.

Releases Affected Releases Resolved or Unaffected
2.6.1-GR1 – 2.6.1-GR1-P13 2.6.1-GR1-P13-SP2
2.6.6-GR1 – 2.6.6-GR1-P5 2.6.6-GR1-P5-SP1
2.7.0 – 2.7.0-P6 2.7.0-P6-SP3
2.7.1 – 2.7.1-P5 2.7.1-P5-SP6
2.7.2 – 2.7.2-P2 2.7.2-P2-SP6
2.8.0 – 2.8.0-P4 2.8.0-P4-SP1
2.8.1 – 2.8.1-P2 2.8.1-P2-SP1
2.8.2 2.8.2-SP1
2.9.1 – 3.0.0-P2 (TPS) 3.0.0-P2-SP4
2.5.0 – 2.5.2-P2 (aGalaxy) 2.5.2-P3
Workarounds and Mitigations

We will be providing updates for all versions of ACOS beginning this evening (Sept. 25, 2014), prioritizing our most broadly deployed releases first and working through to completion. Customers and partners are encouraged to visit A10’s Support Portal and check for additional patches over the next few weeks as the vulnerabilities evolve with public discourse.


As an immediate workaround, A10 customers should restrict access to the management interface with access-control lists. By default, because A10 products provide an out-of-band management interface, remote users connected to networking — or data plane — ports would not be able to access the Web user interface. If Web user interface access is enabled on data plane interfaces, it is recommended to restrict the access with access-control lists.

For example, applying an access-list will prevent unknown IP addresses from accessing the A10 device and management services.

access-list 134 deny icmp any any
access-list 134 deny tcp any any eq 23
access-list 134 deny tcp any any eq 80
access-list 134 permit tcp host eq 22
access-list 134 permit tcp host eq 443
access-list 134 deny ip any any

AX2600(config)#interface management
AX2600(config-if:management)# access-list 134

Protecting Other Devices Using aFleX

For customers who have CGI scripts running in their application environment, A10 recommends utilizing the following aFleX script to mitigate the known attack vector. This aFleX rule can be applied to HTTP and HTTPS Virtual Ports. A10 does recommend evaluation of the script for possible performance impacts if the specific platform currently has high CPU loads. The aFleX script has not been benchmarked for performance. This script may be updated periodically if new information is gathered about this threat.

aFleX rules for protecting origin servers with vulnerable services

if {[HTTP::request] contains "() {"} {
log "Detected CVE-2014-6271 attack in a request from [IP::client_addr]
request was [HTTP::request]"
if {[HTTP::query] contains "() {"} {
log "Detected CVE-2014-6271 attack in a request from [IP::client_addr]
query was [HTTP::query]"
if {[HTTP::header count] > 0} {
foreach req_header [HTTP::header names] { if {[HTTP::header values
$req_header] contains "() {" } { log "Detected CVE-2014-6271 attack in a
request from [IP::client_addr] in
header: $req_header"
if {[ HTTP::cookie count] > 0} {
foreach r_cookie [HTTP::cookie names] {
if {[HTTP::cookie value $r_cookie] contains "() {" } { log "Detected
CVE-2014-6271 attack in a request from [IP::client_addr] in
Cookie: $r_cookie"
Software Updates

Software updates that address these vulnerabilities are or will be published at the following URL:

Vulnerability Details

The following table shares brief descriptions for the vulnerabilities addressed in this document.

Vulnerability ID Vulnerability Description

GNU Bash through 4.3 processes trailing strings after function definitions in the values of environment variables, which allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted environment, as demonstrated by vectors involving the ForceCommand feature in OpenSSH sshd, the mod_cgi and mod_cgid modules in the Apache HTTP Server, scripts executed by unspecified DHCP clients, and other situations in which setting the environment occurs across a privilege boundary from Bash execution, aka "ShellShock." NOTE: the original fix for this issue was incorrect; CVE-2014-7169 has been assigned to cover the vulnerability that is still present after the incorrect fix.



Modification History
Revision Date Description
1.0 September 24, 2014

Initial Publication

1.1 September 26, 2016

Version numbers added for HVA and aGalaxy

ADC version 2.4.3 removed (it is EOL) • “Protecting Other Devices Using aFleX” subtitle added for further clarification

Minor typo corrected on p. 2 (from “is” to “it”)

2.0 September 28, 2014

This is the final advisory that will be published on the single #CVE-2014-6271 and are publishing a “rolling advisory” titled “Shellshock Bash Multiple CVEs” on our Support Portal to cover the additional CVEs that have been spawned as a results of the initial vulnerability. We are continuing to monitor and are testing all new exploit vectors of this bug as they evolve.

At this point, we have not been able to exploit any A10 systems, but will continue to test and report on new vectors and/or vulnerabilities via the separate advisory referenced above.

We have also made patches available for all our ADC and CGN products and versions of ACOS (please see the Patch Information chart below. Patches are available to A10 support customers via our Support Portal). In addition, we will be including patches for any new exploits in our regularly scheduled code releases.

3.0 April 13, 2018

Created web page

4.0 February 17, 2020

Refactored advisory for contemporary structure and format.

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