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Cisco patches IOS to stop automation exploitation

What could possibly go wrong with self-managing routers? DoS attacks, for starters

Cisco's turned up vulnerabilities in automation software that open the door to denial-of-service and limited access to devices.

The company's Autonomic Network Infrastructure (ANI) feature in IOS provides self-management for various IPv6-supporting routers and Ethernet switches.

One of the ANI features is to remove the need for pre-staging in network bootstrap, allowing devices join a network on start, so they can be configured over the network rather than through a local port.

The three vulnerabilities exploit this in various ways:

  • Registration authority spoofing (CVE-2015-0635) – insufficient validation of the Autonomic Networking (AN) response message allows an attacker to spoof the message, either bootstrapping a device into an untrusted domain (with limited control over it), DoS-ing the device, and disrupting the victim's domain;
  • DoS using spoofed messages (CVE-2015-0636) – In IOS and IOS XE software, a spoofed “overloaded AN” message resets the state machine;
  • Device reload (CVE-2015-0637) – received AN messages are insufficiently validated, allowing an attacker to trigger system reloads using crafted messages.

Devices running Cisco IOS and IOS XE, with ANI enabled, are vulnerable. Cisco has released patches for the vulnerable systems listed in its advisory, here. ®

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