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Saturday, 20 August 2016 10:57

Australia in top three vulnerable to Cisco firewall attack Featured

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Australia is among the top three countries vulnerable to an attack that targets Cisco's now decommissioned PIX firewall, according to a report in Ars Technica.

The top two countries affected are the US and the Russian Federation, the report said.

The attack code, one of many exfiltrated from the NSA-associated Equation Group by Shadow Brokers, is dubbed BENIGNCERTAIN. Shadow Brokers is suspected of being a Russian-backed operation.

Confirmation that the code could be used to remotely extract decryption keys from the PIX firewall was posted by researcher Mustafa Al-Bassam, a former associate of the hacking group Anonymous, who now works with the payments processing company Secure Trading.

Ars, whose detailed report is worth reading, said his conclusions had been confirmed by three other researchers.

A search using the Shodan search engine brought up 9079 devices in the Russian Federation, 2740 in the US and 1527 in Australia using the PIX firewall.

Ars said it had asked Cisco to investigate the exploit but the company declined, citing its policy on products which have reached their end-of-life.

Later, however, Cisco updated an existing blog post and wrote: "Even though the Cisco PIX is not supported and has not been supported since 2009..., out of concern for customers who are still using PIX we have investigated this issue and found PIX versions 6.x and prior are affected. PIX versions 7.0 and later are confirmed to be unaffected by BENIGNCERTAIN. The Cisco ASA is not vulnerable."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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