Researchers Discover Serious Flaws In Several Cisco Devices

Vulnerabilities that have affected over dozens of devices from Cisco have been discovered by security experts. This vulnerability allows product hardware components that check for legitimate software updates to be compromised and deceived.

Usage of compromised routers could place emails exchanged in an organization at significant risk of leaks. The firm, based out of California, stated that it was working to fix all compromised hardware devices. Trust Anchor, a component on Cisco routers, was targeted and modified via software vulnerability by Red Balloon researchers. Ang Cui, chief executive of Red Balloon, stated that Trust Anchor could be disabled in stealth. Unsecure changes can be made to Cisco routers, but compromised Trust Anchors would report it as genuine. This could affect almost every Cisco device and is a scary prospect.

Several dozen products have been listed as compromised or vulnerable on Cisco’s official website. Alan Woodward, who is a security expert, stated that it was difficult to estimate number of affected devices, even by Cisco. Much money would have to be spent to fix this. Some experts have questioned how such vulnerabilities were allowed to exist.

The usual policy of most companies is to implement read-only features in hardware with crucial security functions. Code is unalterable once it is manufactured, said Andrew Tierney, a security expert from Pen Test. He said Cisco’s policy of not implementing this move was worrisome. Solutions to fix affected devices are very limited. He stated that it would be difficult for users to even realize that their devices have been compromised or for users to repair such compromised devices. On-premise programming will be required, since the fix also includes repairing hardware components.

The company declared on its official website that software fixes against these vulnerabilities were currently under development and they would soon be released for all compromised devices.


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