Cisco's SDN controller has a security hole

Company issues software to plug a root user access vulnerability

Cisco has issued software to fix a vulnerability in its SDN controller than allows infiltrators to access the system as root users, with access to root commands.

Access to root commands would enable an attacker to access all commands and files on the controller. With that access, the attacker can then modify the system in any way desired, including granting and revoking access permissions for other users, including root users.

A vulnerability in the cluster management configuration of Cisco's Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) and Nexus 9000 switch in Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) mode could allow an authenticated, remote attacker to access the APIC as the root user, according to a recently issued Cisco security advisory. The vulnerability is due to improper implementation of access controls in the APIC filesystem, the advisory states.

An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by accessing the cluster management configuration of the APIC. An exploit could allow the attacker to gain access to the APIC as the root user and perform root-level commands, the advisory states.

Affected products are APICs running software versions prior to 1.1(1j), 1.0(3o) and 1.0(4o); and ACI mode Nexus 9000 switches running software versions prior to Release 11.1(1j) and 11.0(4o).

Cisco has released free software updates that address the vulnerability. There are currently no workarounds for it, the advisory states.

The vulnerability was reported to Cisco during an internal security evaluation. Cisco said it is not aware of any public announcements or malicious use of it.

Cisco also issued security advisories on a DoS vulnerability in its VideoScape delivery system; an unauthorized password change vulnerability in its Unified MeetingPlace application; DoS vulnerabilities in Cisco IOS TCP and TFTP Server software; and a fragmented packet DoS vulnerability in the ASR 1000 edge router.

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