PAN MGMT interface initiating SSH connection outbound to strange destination

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PAN MGMT interface initiating SSH connection outbound to strange destination

L3 Networker

One of my customers reached out to me this with this very strange concern.  They are using eSentire as an MDR platform which is looking at network traffic.  Recently, they received an alert from the product indicating a suspicious SSH connection outbound.


The strange part is that this connection is shown to be originating from the management interface IP address of their Palo Alto firewall.


The first time it connected outbound to an IP address  - -  and transmitted 150MB of data.  This destination appears to be associated with an organization called Vultr.  No idea what it would have to do with PAN.


They then blocked the connection on the firewall.  The connection attempt happened one more time (where it was blocked).  And that is the last time this behavior has been seen.


What to think here?  Is the PAN NGFW somehow compromised?  Did some malicious code get injected into its software?  Is there any reason it should ever initiate an outbound SSH connection?  Why would it be connecting to a random IP in France?  Any thoughts on how to follow up and investigate?  Would Unit42 be interested in this? 

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