Cybersecurity · · 2 min read

LockBit Ransomware: A Deep Dive into the Exploitation of the Critical Citrix Bleed Vulnerability

LockBit Ransomware: A Deep Dive into the Exploitation of the Critical Citrix Bleed Vulnerability

Welcome back, readers! Today, we are covering a critical topic in the realm of cybersecurity: the exploitation of the Citrix Bleed vulnerability by the notorious LockBit ransomware. This event marks a significant shift in cyber attack strategies, with profound implications for digital security practices worldwide. As we dissect this intricate case, we'll explore the tactics used, the implications for both Windows and Linux systems, and the broader impact on the cybersecurity landscape. Stay tuned as we delve deep into this pressing issue, offering expert insights and analysis to keep you informed and prepared.

Citrix Bleed Vulnerability

Dubbed "Citrix Bleed," this vulnerability is tracked as CVE-2023-4966 and scored a worrying 9.4 on the CVSS scale. Alarmingly, it was weaponized as a zero-day since at least August 2023, before Citrix addressed it last month​​. The flaw enables attackers to bypass password requirements and multifactor authentication (MFA), facilitating session hijacking of legitimate user sessions on Citrix NetScaler ADC and Gateway appliances​​​​.

LockBit 3.0's Exploitation Techniques

LockBit 3.0 affiliates leverage this vulnerability to acquire elevated permissions, allowing them to harvest credentials, move laterally, and access data and resources. This method highlights a shift in ransomware strategies, focusing more on exploiting vulnerabilities in exposed services as primary entry vectors​​.

Mandiant, a Google-owned company, observed that following the public disclosure of the vulnerability, four different uncategorized groups, including LockBit, began exploiting CVE-2023-4966. LockBit's activities were particularly notable, involving the execution of PowerShell scripts and the deployment of remote management and monitoring tools like AnyDesk and Splashtop for subsequent operations​​.

Comparative Study: Windows vs. Linux Ransomware

In the context of the LockBit ransomware exploiting the Citrix Bleed vulnerability, a pertinent study by Check Point offers further insight into the ransomware landscape, comparing attacks on Windows versus Linux systems.

The study highlights a distinct approach in ransomware design for Linux systems, where the predominant use of the OpenSSL library along with encryption algorithms like ChaCha20/RSA and AES/RSA is noted. Notably, ransomware targeting Linux tends to focus specifically on medium to large organizations, suggesting a strategic selection of targets based on system usage and potential payoff.

In contrast, Windows-targeted ransomware exhibits a more generalized approach, indicating a broader range of potential victims. This distinction underscores the varying tactics and objectives within the ransomware ecosystem, emphasizing the need for tailored security measures for different operating systems.


The exploitation of the Citrix Bleed vulnerability by LockBit ransomware serves as a compelling reminder of the ever-changing landscape of cyber threats. It highlights the critical need for ongoing vigilance and prompt updating of systems to address known vulnerabilities. Additionally, this incident brings to light the significance of comprehending the specific strategies and preferred targets of ransomware, which vary depending on the operating systems they exploit. For those in the field of cybersecurity, it's essential to remain informed and proactive in response to these continuously evolving digital dangers.

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