Cisco let an SSL cert expire in its VPN kit – and broke network provisioning brokers

Well that's one way to secure systems: deny new trustpoints


If your inter-office Cisco-powered VPN suddenly isn't working properly, there's an upcoming update you may need to install.

The issue is specific to Switchzilla's Application Policy Infrastructure Controller Enterprise Module (APIC-EM), which is its software-defined networking controller for enterprise networks. It relies on an embedded SSL certificate that, er, expired on July 13.

As the IT giant's field notice explained this month, that cockup broke APIC-EM PKI brokers, which means no more trustpoints can be provisioned, which prevents the addition of branch offices and other hubs, and no more device certificates can be generated.

The APIC-EM's PKI service, according to Cisco, “provides an integrated authentication server for automated key management. It automates the lifecycle management of issuing, renewing, and revoking the PKI X.509 certificate for apps such as IWAN.”

Automation is handy until it stops working, as the field notice explained. With a fscked broker, “the APIC-EM instance becomes unable to provision trustpoints. APIC-EM instances with this problem are not able to generate new device Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates or use the APIC-EM Intelligent WAN (IWAN) application to deploy new hub/branch sites.”

The controller uses PrimeKey's Java-based open-source certificate authority software, EJBCA, and the certificate is embedded in the product.

Cisco is working on an update, which will arrive in APIC-EM version 1.6.3, which isn't out yet. The most recent, 1.6.2, landed in May 2018. If you need a fix sooner, get in touch with Cisco, because the field notice says the biz's engineers can apply manual patches to your kit. ®

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