Cisco reports bug disclosed in Wikileaks' Vault 7 Central Intelligence Agency dump

Cisco reports bug disclosed in Wikileaks' Vault 7 Central Intelligence Agency dump

A vulnerability in Cisco's widely deployed IOS software that was disclosed in the recent WikiLeaks dump of Central Intelligence Agency exploits has triggered the company to release a critical warning for its Catalyst networking customers.

It's a two-fold bug: first, the protocol doesn't restrict CMP-specific Telnet to local communications, instead processing commands over "any Telnet connection to an affected device"; and second, malformed CMP-specific Telnet options are incorrectly processed.

It continues: "An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by sending malformed CMP-specific Telnet options while establishing a Telnet session with an affected Cisco device configured to accept Telnet connections".

As CMP passes around data using the Telnet or SSH networking protocols, the bug could allow attackers to exploit affected devices using the IPv4 or IPv6 internetworking protocols. This will prevent hackers from attempting to exploit the vulnerability of the IOS and IOS XE.

Cisco noted that it will release a software update for the affected switches in order to plug the security hole, but for the time being it recommends users of the vulnerable switches disable Telnet as an allowed protocol for incoming connections and make use of just SSH instead.

The list of affected products is huge, covering 264 Catalyst switches, 51 industrial Ethernet switches, the Cisco RF Gateway 10, SM-X Layer 2/3 EtherSwitch Service Module and more.

The malware, once installed on a Cisco device, seem to provide a range of capabilities: data collection, data exfiltration, command execution with administrative privileges (and without any logging of such commands ever been executed), HTML traffic redirection, manipulation and modification (insertion of HTML code on web pages), DNS poisoning, covert tunneling and others.

While Friday's advisory said there are "no workaround that address this vulnerability", it did say the vulnerability was active only when buggy devices were configured to accept incoming telnet connections.

Cisco's advisory doesn't tell us if it's aware of exploits using the flaw.

In its advisory, Cisco said that the vulnerability was identified "during the analysis of documents related to the Vault 7 disclosure".

The bug is a critical one and an attacker who is able to exploit it would be able to get complete control of a target device.

Documents published so far don't appear to explicitly discuss technical details of the vulnerabilities or how to exploit them. Last week, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange vowed he would privately disclose those details to manufacturers so they would have time to fix them before the vulnerabilities became widely known. Information on how to do both can be found on the Cisco Guide to Harden Cisco IOS Devices.

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