Palo Alto Networks Security Advisories / CVE-2020-2016

CVE-2020-2016 PAN-OS: Temporary file race condition vulnerability in PAN-OS leads to local privilege escalation

Severity 7 · HIGH
Attack Vector LOCAL
Attack Complexity HIGH
Privileges Required LOW
User Interaction NONE
Confidentiality Impact HIGH
Integrity Impact HIGH
Availability Impact HIGH


A race condition due to insecure creation of a file in a temporary directory vulnerability in PAN-OS allows for root privilege escalation from a limited linux user account.

This allows an attacker who has escaped the restricted shell as a low privilege administrator, possibly by exploiting another vulnerability, to escalate privileges to become root user.

This issue affects:

PAN-OS 7.1 versions earlier than 7.1.26;

PAN-OS 8.1 versions earlier than 8.1.13;

PAN-OS 9.0 versions earlier than 9.0.6;

All versions of PAN-OS 8.0.

Product Status


9.1>= 9.1.0
9.0< 9.0.6>= 9.0.6
8.1< 8.1.13>= 8.1.13
7.1< 7.1.26>= 7.1.26

Severity: HIGH

CVSSv3.1 Base Score: 7 (CVSS:3.1/AV:L/AC:H/PR:L/UI:N/S:U/C:H/I:H/A:H)

Weakness Type

CWE-377 Insecure Temporary File


This issue is fixed in PAN-OS 7.1.26, PAN-OS 8.1.13, PAN-OS 9.0.6, PAN-OS 9.1.0, and all later PAN-OS versions.

PAN-OS 8.0 is now end-of-life as of October 31, 2019, and is no longer covered by our Product Security Assurance policies.

Workarounds and Mitigations

This issue affects the management interface of PAN-OS and is strongly mitigated by following best practices for securing the PAN-OS management interface. Please review the Best Practices for Securing Administrative Access in the PAN-OS technical documentation, available at:


Palo Alto Networks thanks the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) for discovering and reporting this issue.
Palo Alto Networks thanks the NCC Group for finding this issue independently during a contracted PAN-OS security assessment.


Initial publication
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