Half of network management systems vulnerable to injection attacks

50% of NMS may be vulnerable to XSS and SQLi attacks

Cross-site scripting and SQL injection attacks are well-known threats for public-facing Web applications, but internal systems can be attacked as well. For example, about half of network management systems studied had these vulnerabilities, according to a report released today.

It all comes down to input validation, or lack of it, said Deral Heiland, research lead at Boston-based Rapid7, Inc. and one of the authors of the report.

Network management systems are in regular communication with the devices on a company's network. But, because the communications are machine-to-machine people sometimes forget that the inputs still need to be checked to make sure there's nothing weird or malicious in there.

"We're very experienced with ecommerce sites and people putting in bad data," said Heiland. "With a machine-to-machine protocol, would there be less protection, less filtering, with the applications assuming that all the data was trusted?"

Heiland's team found 13 different vulnerabilities with nine different network management systems vendors, which was about half of all vendors studied.

Getting access to a network management system gives an attacker a current map of the company's environment, without risking detection by running their own scans.

To take advantage of one of these vulnerabilities, an attacker could physically enter an organization's facility and connect a small device, such as a Raspberri Pi, to the network.

Or an attacker who already has access to a networked device through some other kind of attack could use this vulnerability to escalate their privileges, Heiland said.

The products were Spiceworks Desktop, Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold, Castle Rock SNMPc, ManageEngine OpUtils, CloudView NMS, Opmantek NMIS, Opsview Monitor, Netikus EventSentry, and Opmantek NMIS.

All nine vendors have been notified and have released patches to their products, said Heiland.

However, Rapid7 did not test every single networking management system on the market.

"Obviously, there isn't enough time to do that," he said.

However, enterprises can do their own testing to determine whether their system is vulnerable.

The research report includes a methodology section that explains how Rapid7 did the tests.

The step that took the most time was figuring out how to get the product up and running in the first place, Heiland said, sometimes taking several days. Companies that already know their network management system products and how they work should have an easier time, he said.

He recommended doing the tests in a testing environment rather than on the production system.

"Once you have it labbed up, it takes about 30 minutes to bring up all the tools on a Linux box and within and hour or two you could test the product," he said.

But the bigger lesson here is that of importance of patch management for internal systems, he said.

"We don't always pay a lot of attention to some of these products that we have on the network, and this is a prime example," he said. "It would be common to see one of these products get installed on a network and not get patched for six months or a year -- or never get patched, in some cases."

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

More about Inc.IpswitchLinuxManageEngineOpsviewRapid7RockSpiceworks

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Maria Korolov

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place