Cisco recommends McAfee switch for IronPort customers hit by Sophos flaws

Attackers could gain control of IronPort appliances because of flaws in Sophos Anti-Virus, Cisco said

Cisco Systems has warned customers about critical vulnerabilities in the Sophos antivirus engine included in its Cisco IronPort email and Web security appliances.

"Cisco IronPort Email Security Appliances (ESA) and Cisco IronPort Web Security Appliances (WSA) include versions of Sophos Anti-Virus that contain multiple vulnerabilities that could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to gain control of the system, escalate privileges, or cause a denial-of-service (DoS) condition," Cisco said Friday in a security advisory.

Cisco rated the severity of the vulnerabilities at 9.7 out of 10 on the CVSS (Common Vulnerability Scoring System) scale. This means that the flaws can be attacked from the network, have a low complexity access level and can completely compromise the confidentiality and integrity of the affected products.

The vulnerabilities in Sophos Anti-Virus that affect Cisco IronPort appliances were publicly disclosed by Google security engineer Tavis Ormandy on Monday, Cisco said.

According to a Sophos knowledgebase article, fixes for some of the vulnerabilities reported by Ormandy were released in October. However, patches for three particular flaws, including a critical one for which proof-of-concept exploit code is publicly available, were only rolled out on Monday.

"As updates that address these vulnerabilities become available from Sophos, Cisco is working to qualify and automatically provision them through the Cisco IronPort ESA and WSA platforms," Cisco said. "Fixes for the vulnerabilities that are described in this advisory are currently not available; however, there are configuration workarounds available that may eliminate the risk for most customers."

The workaround that Cisco refers to requires users to stop using Sophos Anti-virus and switch to a different antivirus engine supported by the IronPort appliances.

"To mitigate this issue, customers can configure the Cisco IronPort appliances to use an alternate antivirus program," the company said. "Cisco is providing 30-day trial licenses for McAfee AntiVirus through IronPort Technical Support as an interim workaround."

Sophos did not immediately return a request for comment regarding the availability of patches for the vulnerabilities described in Cisco's security advisory.

Cisco did not immediately return a request for comment seeking clarifications on whether the Sophos antivirus engine in the IronPort appliances will be updated automatically or if customers need to update it manually.

Tags: sophos, patches, Cisco Systems, antispam, security, Exploits / vulnerabilities, antivirus

Espionage outpacing financial crime as better reporting improves security picture: Verizon

READ THIS ARTICLE
DO NOT SHOW THIS BOX AGAIN [ x ]
Comments are now closed.
CSO Corporate Partners
  • Webroot
  • Trend Micro
  • NetIQ
rhs_login_lockGet exclusive access to CSO, invitation only events, reports & analysis.
CSO Directory

Endpoint Security and Data Protection

Protect your computers and data.

Latest Jobs
Security Awareness Tip

Incident handling is a vast topic, but here are a few tips for you to consider in your incident response. I hope you never have to use them, but the odds are at some point you will and I hope being ready saves you pain (or your job!).


  1. Have an incident response plan.

  2. Pre-define your incident response team 

  3. Define your approach: watch and learn or contain and recover.

  4. Pre-distribute call cards.

  5. Forensic and incident response data capture.

  6. Get your users on-side.

  7. Know how to report crimes and engage law enforcement. 

  8. Practice makes perfect.

For the full breakdown on this article

Security ABC Guides

Warning: Tips for secure mobile holiday shopping

I’m dating myself, but I remember when holiday shopping involved pouring through ads in the Sunday paper, placing actual phone calls from tethered land lines to research product stock and availability, and actually driving places to pick things up. Now, holiday shoppers can do all of that from a smartphone or tablet in a few seconds, but there are some security pitfalls to be aware of.