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Home : Advisories : Cisco Content Services Switch Vulnerability

Title: Cisco Content Services Switch Vulnerability
Released by: Cisco
Date: 31st January 2001
Printable version: Click here

Security Advisory: Cisco Content Services Switch Vulnerability

Revision 1.0

For Public Release 2001 January 31 08:00 (GMT +0800)




The Cisco Content Services (CSS) switch product, also known as Arrowpoint,

has several security vulnerabilities once access to the command line

interface (CLI) is granted.  The first vulnerability, the switch can be

forced into a temporary denial of service by an unprivileged user, this is

documented in Cisco Bug ID CSCdt08730.   The second issue allows a

non-privileged user to view filenames and file contents.  This is

documented in Cisco Bug ID CSCdt12748.

The full text of this advisory can be viewed at:


Affected Products


The Cisco Content Services Switch is affected by this group of

vulnerabilities.  The CSS switch is also known as Arrowpoint product, and

runs the Cisco WebNS Software.

Cisco CSS 11050, CSS 11150, and CSS 11800 hardware platforms are affected

by this group of vulnerabilities.

No other Cisco products are affected by this group of vulnerabilities.



The Cisco CSS11000 must be configured to permit command line access to

users by providing a management address and defining user accounts.  Once

command line access is gained by non privileged users (defined user

accounts without administrative privileges), running a command requiring a

filename, and providing a filename that is the maximum length of the input

buffer can cause the switch to reboot, and a system check to be started

which will prevent normal function of the switch for up to 5 minutes.  The

show script, clear script, show archive, clear archive, show log, and clear

log commands are capable of causing the CSS to restart  if the specified

file name is the maximum length of the input buffer.  Cisco Bug ID


If command line access is not restricted, a  non privileged user (defined

user account without administrative privileges) can gain information on the

directory structure by requesting non-existent filenames. Additionally, the

non privileged user can gain read access for files if the directory

structure of the target files are known to the user.   Cisco Bug ID

CSCdt12748 describes this file system vulnerability.



The vulnerability described in CSCdt08730 can be continuously reproduced to

produce a Denial of Service attack.  The additional vulnerabilities provide

unauthorized access to important files such as the configuration files, and

directory structure information. If access to the command line interface is

well protected and restricted, then these vulnerabilities are minimized.

Software Versions and Fixes


CSCdt08730 is resolved in revision 4.01(12s), and revision 3.10 (71s) of

Cisco WebNS software.  The file system information disclosure

vulnerabilities are scheduled to be fixed, but are currently unresolved.

Workarounds are recommended in the interim.  This notice will be updated

when the vulnerabilities are resolved, or monthly until the vulnerabilities

are resolved.

Obtaining Fixed Software


Cisco is offering free software upgrades to eliminate this vulnerability

for all affected customers.   As interim fixes of the software are

currently available, these will be posted to the Cisco website on

2001-FEB-01.  Until that time, customers can call the Cisco Technical

Assistance Center for access to the interim files.

Customers without contracts should get their upgrades by contacting the

Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC). TAC contacts are as follows:

   * +1 800 553 2447 (toll-free from within North America)

   * +1 408 526 7209 (toll call from anywhere in the world)

   * e-mail: tac@cisco.com

Give the URL of this notice as evidence of your entitlement to a free

upgrade. Free upgrades for non-contract customers must be requested through

the TAC. Please do not contact either "psirt@cisco.com" or

"security-alert@cisco.com" for software upgrades.



Access control lists can be applied to restrict access to the Cisco CSS

device, as well as additional firewall or access lists to restrict

connection to the management interface.  Access control lists also affect

traffic to the Virtual interface of the Cisco CSS device, so must be

applied with care.  For further details on configuring access lists please

refer to the product documentation:





Additionally, the use of SSH to prevent snooping of the management traffic

to the device is encouraged.

Telnet service can also be disabled, for many customers in a co-location

environment this is not a feasible option, but is included in this section

for customers that may have the ability to implement this configuration.

    CS150(config)# telnet access disabled

Additionally, it is recommended to select strong passwords in accordance

with your own security policies, and to adhere to your own security

policies on changing passwords frequently, or when staffing changes occur.

Exploitation and Public Announcements


The Cisco PSIRT is not aware of any public announcements or malicious use

of the vulnerabilities described in this advisory.  These vulnerabilities

were discovered by a Security Consulting firm during a customer security


Status of This Notice: INTERIM


This is an interim notice. Although Cisco cannot guarantee the accuracy of

all statements in this notice, all of the facts have been checked to the

best of our ability.   Cisco anticipates issuing updated versions of this

notice as the software is updated. Cisco will update this notice by




This notice will be posted on Cisco's Worldwide Web site at


In addition to Worldwide Web posting, a text version of this notice is

clear-signed with the Cisco PSIRT PGP key and is posted to the following

e-mail and Usenet news recipients:

   * cust-security-announce@cisco.com

   * bugtraq@securityfocus.com

   * first-teams@first.org (includes CERT/CC)

   * cisco@spot.colorado.edu

   * comp.dcom.sys.cisco

   * Various internal Cisco mailing lists

Future updates of this notice, if any, will be placed on Cisco's Worldwide

Web server, but may or may not be actively announced on mailing lists or

newsgroups. Users concerned about this problem are encouraged to check the

URL given above for any updates.

Revision History


 Revision    31-JAN-2001Initial public release


Cisco Security Procedures


Complete information on reporting security vulnerabilities in Cisco

products, obtaining assistance with security incidents, and registering to

receive security information from Cisco, is available on Cisco's Worldwide

Web site at

http://www.cisco.com/warp/public/707/sec_incident_response.html. This

includes instructions for press inquiries regarding Cisco security notices.


This notice is Copyright 2001 by Cisco Systems, Inc. This notice may be

redistributed freely after the release date given at the top of the text,

provided that redistributed copies are complete and unmodified, and include

all date and version information.



Version: PGP 6.0.2









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