Apache Fineract Patches Multiple Flaws, Including Critical Privilege Escalation (CVE-2024-23539)

Apache Fineract, a widely used open-source core banking solution for financial institutions, has released security patches to address three vulnerabilities, one of which has been classified as ‘critical‘. The vulnerabilities could potentially allow attackers to escalate privileges without authorization or execute malicious database queries.


Vulnerability Breakdown

  • CVE-2024-23537: A Privilege Escalation Flaw

The first of these vulnerabilities, classified under CVE-2024-23537 with an “important” severity rating, exposes a flaw in Apache Fineract versions before 1.8.5. This flaw could allow users without specific permissions to escalate their privileges to any role within the system, effectively opening the door to unauthorized access and control. The risk here is not just to data confidentiality but also to the integrity of the financial operations running on the platform.

  • CVE-2024-23538 and CVE-2024-23539: SQL Injection Weaknesses

The situation is further complicated by CVE-2024-23538 and CVE-2024-23539, both also rated as “important,” with the latter tipping into the “critical” category due to its potential impact. These vulnerabilities stem from improper neutralization of special elements used in an SQL command, making the sqlSearch parameter a potent vector for SQL injection attacks. Versions of Apache Fineract before 1.8.5 are susceptible to these vulnerabilities, which could allow attackers to manipulate database queries. The implications of such attacks range from data theft to unauthorized transaction manipulation, posing a significant threat to the platform’s integrity and the trust of its users.

Who’s at Risk?

Financial institutions and organizations worldwide that utilize Apache Fineract for critical core banking operations are directly impacted. Apache Fineract’s mission to provide financial services to unbanked populations makes addressing these security flaws particularly important.

What You Should Do

Apache recommends the following actions:

  1. Immediate Upgrade: All users of Apache Fineract versions earlier than 1.8.5 must upgrade to version 1.8.5 or 1.9.0, which include the necessary fixes.
  2. System Review (Optional): If upgrading isn’t immediately feasible, organizations should thoroughly review their system configurations to identify potential exposure points and mitigate risk while they work on applying the patches.