Cisco Security Updates Squash Router Bugs

Cisco has released eight security updates for the Internetwork Operating System (IOS) software used to power its routers.

The patches were released Wednesday, the day Cisco had previously scheduled for its twice-yearly IOS updates. None of the bugs had been publicly disclosed ahead of Wednesday's updates, but some of them were reported to Cisco by outside sources.

Most of the bugs could be exploited by attackers to crash or somehow disrupt service to a router, typically if a specific, vulnerable service is enabled, Cisco said.

For example, Cisco has fixed two bugs in its SSLVPN (Secure Sockets Layer Virtual Private Network) software that could be used to crash the device. Attackers could exploit one of these bugs by sending a specially crafted HTTPS packet to the router. The bug does not affect users of the company's ASA 5500 appliance or of Cisco IOS XR or XE software, however.

SSLVPN lets users outside of the corporate firewall access their company's network using a Web browser, instead of installing special VPN software on their PC.

Another serious bug affects those who have enabled the Secure Copy Protocol (SCP), used to allow file transfers over the network. Because of this bug, an authenticated user on the device could "transfer files to and from a Cisco IOS device that is configured to be an SCP server, regardless of what users are authorized to do," Cisco said in its advisory. This could allow a user to mess with the router's configuration files or sneak a peek at passwords, Cisco said. This bug was reported to Cisco by Kevin Graham, the company said.

More details on the updates can be found here.

Cisco's next set of IOS patches is due Sept. 23.

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