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Tuesday, 16 January 2018 09:51

Lenovo finds and removes backdoor from two switch models

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Lenovo has found a backdoor in two of its switches that could give an attacker access to the switch management interface and allow settings to be changed, expose traffic and also effect a partial or complete denial of service.

The company said it removed the backdoor which had been discovered in the RackSwitch and BladeCenter switches.

"An authentication bypass mechanism known as 'HP Backdoor' was discovered during a Lenovo security audit in the Telnet and Serial Console management interfaces, as well as the SSH and Web management interfaces under certain limited and unlikely conditions," it said.

"This bypass mechanism can be accessed when performing local authentication under specific circumstances using credentials that are unique to each switch. If exploited, admin-level access to the switch is granted."

The backdoor was present in the enterprise network operating system or ENOS that powers some Lenovo switches.

An audit of the source code changes showed that the backdoor was added in 2004 when ENOS was owned by Nortel's Blade Server Switch Business Unit, at the request of a BSSBU OEM customer.

Nortel spun off BSSBU in 2006 to form BLADE Network Technologies which was purchased by IBM in 2010, and, subsequently, Lenovo in 2014.

"Lenovo has provided relevant source code to a third-party security partner to enable independent investigation of the mechanism," the company added.

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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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