Security Market Segment LS
Friday, 06 April 2018 08:22

Cisco utility opens up switches to malicious attackers

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Malicious attackers are abusing a Cisco utility to scan the company's switches and change software in order to stage attacks, the Cisco Talos Intelligence Group has warned.

In a blog post, Talos said the Cisco Smart Install Client was a legacy utility that could be used for no-touch installation of new Cisco switches.

But the protocol used by this tool could be abused to modify the settings of the TFTP server, exfiltrate configuration files, and change settings to facilitate the execution of IOS commands.

IOS is a package of routing, switching, inter-networking and telecommunications functions integrated into a multi-tasking operating system.

Additionally, Talos said, a vulnerability had been discovered in the client and though it had been patched, proof-of-concept code had been released.

Talos said it had found about 168,000 switches online that were potential targets of these attacks. An increase in scans looking for Cisco Smart Install Client had been noticed since 9 November last year.

It advised those using the Cisco Smart Install Client to remove it from all devices where it was not in use.

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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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