Vulnerabilities on Cisco Devices

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 @ 01:05 PM gHale

Cisco network equipment is still vulnerable to a single security vulnerability flaw nearly two years after the company issued a patch, according to an analysis of network scans by Dimension Data for its 2011 Network Barometer Report.

Dimension’s Technology Lifecycle Management assessment service discovered 73% of the 270 assessments it carried out on global companies using Cisco equipment found at least one device security vulnerability had not yet been patched.

One prominent vulnerability, Cisco PSIRT (Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team) 109444, was on 66% of the networks, accounting for much of the exposure.

The PSIRT 10944 rating by the industry Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) was between 6.4 and 7.8 out of 10 in terms of severity (which means moderately critical), and capable of allowing an attacker to hit affected devices with a successful DDoS attack, said Dimension Data.

“To a hacker, a security vulnerability is equivalent to leaving one’s front door unlocked,” said Neil Campbell, Dimension Data’s global security manager. “And attempting to exploit vulnerabilities is usually the first port of call when initiating an attack. That’s because it may provide the hacker with full access to the device, which he could use as a launch pad to initiate further attacks internally.”

Patches are out there, but the question remains is if companies are patching their systems rapidly enough. In the IT sector, patching can occur at a more frequent pace, however in the manufacturing automation arena, patching could take quite a while to occur, if at all.

Companies devote most of their time to looking after vulnerabilities at the application layer, where most attacks occurred. Hardware vulnerabilities — even well-known ones — came further down the priority list, more so if they related to internal network devices seen as unrelated to security.

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