Unpatched Cisco Autonomic Networking Flaws Disclosed at Black Hat

Cisco published advisories on Wednesday to inform users of several unpatched vulnerabilities affecting the Autonomic Networking feature of it IOS and IOS XE software. The flaws, some of which rated “high severity,” were disclosed this week by a researcher at the Black Hat security conference.

Omar Eissa, an analyst at Germany-based security firm ERNW, disclosed the weaknesses as part of a briefing titled “Network Automation is Not Your Safe Haven: Protocol Analysis and Vulnerabilities of Autonomic Network.”

One of the vulnerabilities rated by Cisco high severity, CVE-2017-6663, allows an unauthenticated attacker on the network to cause autonomic nodes to reload and generate a denial-of-service (DoS) condition by capturing packets and replaying them to reset the Autonomic Control Plane (ACP) channel of the affected system.

The researcher noted in his presentation at Black Hat that it takes roughly 15 minutes to crash a device by exploiting this vulnerability.

The second high severity flaw, classified as an information disclosure issue and tracked as CVE-2017-6665, allows an unauthenticated attacker to capture and view ACP packets that are sent in clear text instead of being encrypted. The root cause of these security holes is unknown, Cisco said.

A third vulnerability, rated medium severity, allows a remote, unauthenticated autonomic node to access the Autonomic Networking infrastructure of an impacted systems after the certificate for that node has been revoked.

The vulnerabilities affect Cisco IOS and IOS XE software if Autonomic Networking is enabled on the device. Patches have yet to be released for these weaknesses and Cisco says there are no workarounds. The networking giant is not aware of any attacks exploiting these vulnerabilities.

This is not the first time Eissa has disclosed Cisco Autonomic Networking flaws at a security conference. A few months ago, at an event in Germany called TROOPERS, he disclosed a couple of high severity DoS vulnerabilities. However, Cisco had patched those before the researcher’s disclosure.

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Eduard Kovacs is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

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