Attacker Value
Very High
(1 user assessed)
(1 user assessed)
User Interaction
Privileges Required
Attack Vector


Disclosure Date: September 19, 2023
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An issue has been discovered in GitLab EE affecting all versions starting from 13.12 before 16.2.7, all versions starting from 16.3 before 16.3.4. It was possible for an attacker to run pipeline jobs as an arbitrary user via scheduled security scan policies. This was a bypass of CVE-2023-3932 showing additional impact.

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  • Attacker Value
    Very High
  • Exploitability
Technical Analysis

On September 18, 2023, GitLab released an advisory for CVE-2023-5009, a vulnerability that affects GitLab Enterprise Edition (EE) from versions 13.12 and before 16.2.7, and also from versions 16.3 and before 16.3.4. Notably version 13.12 was released May 22, 2021, which means this vulnerability has been present in the code base for 2 years and 4 months. The open source commit that fixes the issue can be found here.

CVE-2023-5009 is described as a bypass of CVE-2023-3932 which was patched two months prior. Both issues allow an attacker, who is authenticated as a user on a GitLab EE server, to run pipelines under the context of another arbitrary user on the same GitLab instance. The impact of doing this would allow an attacker to access resources, such as private source code or other secrets, owned by a target user.

Pipelines allow GitLab to perform Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD). Pipelines define the work to perform and this work is then executed by Runners. A detailed walkthrough of how to exploit the original issue CVE-2023-3932 is available, and shows how an attacker can create a malicious self hosted runner that is capable of accessing private data from a target user.

Of note is how, according to the advisory, the new bypass CVE-2023-5009 requires two features in GitLab EE to be enabled, specifically:

  • Security Policies
  • Direct Transfers

“Security Policies” require an Ultimate edition license of GitLab EE and are enabled by default. They define how scans are performed when a pipeline job runs.

When enabled, the “Direct Transfers” feature allows a user to transfer ownership of a project to another user. When testing a vulnerable GitLab EE server version 16.3.3, it was noted that the “Direct Transfers” feature was disabled by default. An admin user must enable this feature for it to be available to other users. It is likely that this non default requirement will reduce the amount of impacted servers. In addition the attacker must have authenticated access to an account on a vulnerable server. While some GitLab instances allow new users to sign up (and by default this is allowed), this may not be possible in all cases when the GitLab admin has disabled new user signups.

Based on this, the attacker value for this vulnerability is high as it allows for the discovery of private data, however the exploitability is lower as not all vulnerable instances of GitLab EE will be configured to enable “Direct Transfers”, nor will an attacker have a valid user account on the server. This will limit the ability for attackers to exploit this vulnerability broadly, however targeted attacks are more likely.

CVSS V3 Severity and Metrics
Base Score:
9.8 Critical
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General Information


  • gitlab


  • gitlab

Additional Info

Technical Analysis