[ISN] Cisco warns of wireless security hole
isn at c4i.org
Thu Apr 8 10:05:28 EDT 2004
By Paul Roberts
IDG News Service
Networking equipment maker Cisco is warning customers about a security
hole in two products used to manage wireless LANs and e-business
services in corporate data centers.
The company said Wednesday that a user name and password coded into
some versions of its Wireless LAN Solution Engine and Hosting Solution
Engine software could give attackers complete control of the devices.
Attackers could use the default logins to hide rogue wireless access
points on wireless LANs, create and modify user privileges or change
configuration settings, Cisco said. The vulnerability affects versions
2.0, 2.0.2 and 2.5 of the Wireless LAN Solution Engine (WLSE) and
versions 1.7, 1.7.1, 1.7.2 and 1.7.3 of the Hosting Solution Engine
(HSE). The San Jose company posted software patches on its Web site
for both products.
The WLSE product manages Cisco Aironet wireless LAN (WLAN)
infrastructures, tying together different Aironet products, such as
wireless access points, and making it easier for administrators to
deploy, monitor and configure the devices on their WLAN. The WLSE also
has security features that can spot unauthorized, or "rogue," access
points and applying wireless networking security polices to devices on
the network, Cisco said.
The HSE is a network management hardware appliance that uses the Cisco
1140 platform. The product maps out and then monitors the performance
and integrity e-business services in data centers that use Cisco
A default user name and password combination were written, or "hard
coded," into the software that runs on both devices and cannot be
disabled. A malicious user who had the password would have complete
control of the affected device, which could be used as a platform for
further attacks, Cisco warned.
For the WLSE, having the default user name and password would give the
malicious user the ability to cause system-wide outages by changing
the radio frequency used to send data over the WLAN, or secretly
install an unauthorized access point that could be used to gather
confidential information from the WLAN.
For customers using the HSE, the default password could allow an
attacker to redirect traffic from a Web site hosting e-business
services, resulting in financial loss, Cisco said.
Cisco said it is not aware of any attacks that use the hard-coded
login information, but advised customers to install the appropriate
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