Cisco Applied Mitigation Bulletin

Identifying and Mitigating Exploitation of the Cisco Secure Access Control System Unauthorized Password Change Vulnerability

Advisory ID: cisco-amb-20110330-acs

http://tools.cisco.com/security/center/content/CiscoAppliedMitigationBulletin/cisco-amb-20110330-acs

Revision 1.0

For Public Release 2011 March 30 16:00  UTC (GMT)


Contents

Cisco Response
Device-Specific Mitigation and Identification
Additional Information
Revision History
Cisco Security Procedures
Related Information

Cisco Response

This Applied Mitigation Bulletin is a companion document to the PSIRT Security Advisory Cisco Secure Access Control System Unauthorized Password Change Vulnerability and provides identification and mitigation techniques that administrators can deploy on Cisco network devices.

Vulnerability Characteristics

The Cisco Secure Access Control System contains a vulnerability when it processes specially crafted HTTPS requests. This vulnerability can be exploited remotely without authentication and without end-user interaction. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability may allow an attacker to change the password of any user account that is defined on the internal identity store to an arbitrary value without providing that user's password. The attack vector for exploitation is through HTTPS packets using TCP port 443.

This vulnerability has been assigned CVE identifier CVE-2011-0951.

Information about vulnerable, unaffected, and fixed software is available in the PSIRT Security Advisory, which is available at the following link: http://tools.cisco.com/security/center/content/CiscoSecurityAdvisory/cisco-sa-20110330-acs.

Mitigation Technique Overview

Cisco devices provide several countermeasures for this vulnerability. Administrators are advised to consider these protection methods to be general security best practices for infrastructure devices and the traffic that transits the network. This section of the document provides an overview of these techniques.

Cisco IOS Software can provide effective means of exploit prevention using transit access control lists (tACLs). This protection mechanism filters and drops packets that are attempting to exploit this vulnerability.

Effective exploit prevention can also be provided by the Cisco ASA 5500 Series Adaptive Security Appliance and the Firewall Services Module (FWSM) for Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series switches and Cisco 7600 Series routers using tACLs.

Cisco IOS NetFlow records can provide visibility into network-based exploitation attempts.

Cisco IOS Software, Cisco ASA, and Cisco FWSM firewalls can provide visibility through syslog messages and counter values displayed in the output from show commands.

Risk Management

Organizations are advised to follow their standard risk evaluation and mitigation processes to determine the potential impact of this vulnerability. Triage refers to sorting projects and prioritizing efforts that are most likely to be successful. Cisco has provided documents that can help organizations develop a risk-based triage capability for their information security teams. Risk Triage for Security Vulnerability Announcements and Risk Triage and Prototyping can help organizations develop repeatable security evaluation and response processes.

Device-Specific Mitigation and Identification

Caution: The effectiveness of any mitigation technique depends on specific customer situations such as product mix, network topology, traffic behavior, and organizational mission. As with any configuration change, evaluate the impact of this configuration prior to applying the change.

Specific information about mitigation and identification is available for these devices:

Cisco IOS Routers and Switches

Mitigation: Transit Access Control Lists

To protect the network from traffic that enters the network at ingress access points, which may include Internet connection points, partner and supplier connection points, or VPN connection points, administrators are advised to deploy transit access control lists (tACLs) to perform policy enforcement. Administrators can construct a tACL by explicitly permitting only authorized traffic to enter the network at ingress access points or permitting authorized traffic to transit the network in accordance with existing security policies and configurations. A tACL workaround cannot provide complete protection against this vulnerability when the attack originates from a trusted source address.

The tACL policy denies unauthorized packets on TCP port 443 that are sent to affected devices. In the following example, 192.168.60.0/24 is the IP address space that is used by the affected devices, and the host at 192.168.100.1 is considered a trusted source that requires access to the affected devices. Care should be taken to allow required traffic for routing and administrative access prior to denying all unauthorized traffic. Note that blocking TCP port 443 will also prevent the User Changeable Password (UCP) feature from operating.

Additional information about tACLs is in Transit Access Control Lists: Filtering at Your Edge.


!-- Include explicit permit statements for trusted sources
!-- that require access on the vulnerable port
!

access-list 150 permit tcp host 192.168.100.1 192.168.60.0 0.0.0.255 eq 443

!
!-- The following vulnerability-specific access control entry
!-- (ACE) can aid in identification of attacks
!

access-list 150 deny tcp any 192.168.60.0 0.0.0.255 eq 443

!
!-- Permit or deny all other Layer 3 and Layer 4 traffic in accordance
!-- with existing security policies and configurations
!
!-- Explicit deny for all other IP traffic
!

access-list 150 deny ip any any

!
!-- Apply tACL to interfaces in the ingress direction
!

interface GigabitEthernet0/0
 ip access-group 150 in

Note that filtering with an interface access list will elicit the transmission of ICMP unreachable messages back to the source of the filtered traffic. Generating these messages could have the undesired effect of increasing CPU utilization on the device. In Cisco IOS Software, ICMP unreachable generation is limited to one packet every 500 milliseconds by default. ICMP unreachable message generation can be disabled using the interface configuration command no ip unreachables. ICMP unreachable rate limiting can be changed from the default using the global configuration command ip icmp rate-limit unreachable interval-in-ms.

Identification: Transit Access Control Lists

After the administrator applies the tACL to an interface, the show ip access-lists command will identify the number of packets on TCP port 443 that have been filtered. Administrators are advised to investigate filtered packets to determine whether they are attempts to exploit this vulnerability. Example output for show ip access-lists 150 follows:

router#show ip access-lists 150
Extended IP access list 150
    10 permit tcp host 192.168.100.1 192.168.60.0 0.0.0.255 eq 443
    20 deny tcp any 192.168.60.0 0.0.0.255 eq 443 (12 matches)
    30 deny ip any any
router#

In the preceding example, access list 150 has dropped 12 packets on TCP port 443 for access control list entry (ACE) line 20.

For additional information about investigating incidents using ACE counters and syslog events, reference the Identifying Incidents Using Firewall and IOS Router Syslog Events Applied Intelligence white paper.

Administrators can use Embedded Event Manager to provide instrumentation when specific conditions are met, such as ACE counter hits. The Applied Intelligence white paper Embedded Event Manager in a Security Context provides additional details about how to use this feature.

Identification: Access List Logging

The log and log-input access control list (ACL) option will cause packets that match specific ACEs to be logged. The log-input option enables logging of the ingress interface in addition to the packet source and destination IP addresses and ports.

Caution: Access control list logging can be very CPU intensive and must be used with extreme caution. Factors that drive the CPU impact of ACL logging are log generation, log transmission, and process switching to forward packets that match log-enabled ACEs.

For Cisco IOS Software, the ip access-list logging interval interval-in-ms command can limit the effects of process switching induced by ACL logging. The logging rate-limit rate-per-second [except loglevel] command limits the impact of log generation and transmission.

The CPU impact from ACL logging can be addressed in hardware on the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series switches and Cisco 7600 Series routers with Supervisor Engine 720 or Supervisor Engine 32 using optimized ACL logging.

For additional information about the configuration and use of ACL logging, reference the Understanding Access Control List Logging Applied Intelligence white paper.

Cisco IOS NetFlow

Identification: Traffic Flow Identification Using NetFlow Records

Administrators can configure Cisco IOS NetFlow on Cisco IOS routers and switches to aid in the identification of traffic flows that may be attempts to exploit the vulnerability. Administrators are advised to investigate flows to determine whether they are attempts to exploit the vulnerability or whether they are legitimate traffic flows.

router#show ip cache flow
IP packet size distribution (90784136 total packets):
   1-32   64   96  128  160  192  224  256  288  320  352  384  416  448  480
   .000 .698 .011 .001 .004 .005 .000 .004 .000 .000 .003 .000 .000 .000 .000

    512  544  576 1024 1536 2048 2560 3072 3584 4096 4608
   .000 .001 .256 .000 .010 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000

IP Flow Switching Cache, 4456704 bytes
  1885 active, 63651 inactive, 59960004 added
  129803821 ager polls, 0 flow alloc failures
  Active flows timeout in 30 minutes
  Inactive flows timeout in 15 seconds
IP Sub Flow Cache, 402056 bytes
  0 active, 16384 inactive, 0 added, 0 added to flow
  0 alloc failures, 0 force free
  1 chunk, 1 chunk added
  last clearing of statistics never
Protocol         Total    Flows   Packets Bytes  Packets Active(Sec) Idle(Sec)
--------         Flows     /Sec     /Flow  /Pkt     /Sec     /Flow     /Flow
TCP-Telnet    11393421      2.8         1    48      3.1       0.0       1.4
TCP-FTP            236      0.0        12    66      0.0       1.8       4.8
TCP-FTPD            21      0.0     13726  1294      0.0      18.4       4.1
TCP-WWW          22282      0.0        21  1020      0.1       4.1       7.3
TCP-X              719      0.0         1    40      0.0       0.0       1.3
TCP-BGP              1      0.0         1    40      0.0       0.0      15.0
TCP-Frag         70399      0.0         1   688      0.0       0.0      22.7
TCP-other     47861004     11.8         1   211     18.9       0.0       1.3
UDP-DNS            582      0.0         4    73      0.0       3.4      15.4
UDP-NTP         287252      0.0         1    76      0.0       0.0      15.5
UDP-other       310347      0.0         2   230      0.1       0.6      15.9
ICMP             11674      0.0         3    61      0.0      19.8      15.5
IPv6INIP            15      0.0         1  1132      0.0       0.0      15.4
GRE                  4      0.0         1    48      0.0       0.0      15.3 
Total:        59957957     14.8         1   196     22.5       0.0       1.5

SrcIf         SrcIPaddress    DstIf         DstIPaddress    Pr SrcP DstP  Pkts
Gi0/0         192.168.10.201  Gi0/1         192.168.60.102  06 0984 01BB     1
Gi0/0         192.168.11.54   Gi0/1         192.168.60.158  06 0911 01BB     3
Gi0/0         192.168.10.17   Gi0/1         192.168.60.97   11 0B89 0035     1
Gi0/0         10.88.226.1     Gi0/1         192.168.202.22  11 007B 00A1     1
Gi0/0         192.168.12.185  Gi0/1         192.168.60.239  06 0BD7 01BB     1
Gi0/0         10.89.16.226    Gi0/1         192.168.150.60  11 12CA 0016     1
router#

In the preceding example, there are multiple flows on TCP port 443 (hex value 01BB).

To view only the traffic flows for packets on TCP port 443 (hex value 01BB), the command show ip cache flow | include SrcIf|_06_.*01BB will display the related TCP NetFlow records as shown here:

TCP Flows

router#show ip cache flow | include SrcIf|_06_.*01BB
SrcIf         SrcIPaddress     DstIf         DstIPaddress    Pr SrcP DstP  Pkts
Gi0/0         192.168.12.110   Gi0/1         192.168.60.163  06 092A 01BB     6
Gi0/0         192.168.11.230   Gi0/1         192.168.60.20   06 0C09 01BB     1
Gi0/0         192.168.13.7     Gi0/1         192.168.60.162  06 0914 01BB     1
Gi0/0         192.168.41.86    Gi0/1         192.168.60.27   06 0B7B 01BB     2
router#

Cisco ASA and FWSM Firewalls

Mitigation: Transit Access Control Lists

To protect the network from traffic that enters the network at ingress access points, which may include Internet connection points, partner and supplier connection points, or VPN connection points, administrators are advised to deploy tACLs to perform policy enforcement. Administrators can construct a tACL by explicitly permitting only authorized traffic to enter the network at ingress access points or permitting authorized traffic to transit the network in accordance with existing security policies and configurations. A tACL workaround cannot provide complete protection against this vulnerability when the attack originates from a trusted source address.

The tACL policy denies unauthorized packets on TCP port 443 that are sent to affected devices. In the following example, 192.168.60.0/24 is the IP address space that is used by the affected devices, and the host at 192.168.100.1 is considered a trusted source that requires access to the affected devices. Care should be taken to allow required traffic for routing and administrative access prior to denying all unauthorized traffic. Note that blocking TCP port 443 will also prevent the UCP feature from operating.

Additional information about tACLs is in Transit Access Control Lists: Filtering at Your Edge.


!
!-- Include explicit permit statements for trusted sources
!-- that require access on the vulnerable port
!

access-list tACL-Policy extended permit tcp host 192.168.100.1 
     192.168.60.0 255.255.255.0 eq https

!
!-- The following vulnerability-specific access control entry
!-- (ACEs) can aid in identification of attacks
!

access-list tACL-Policy extended deny tcp any 192.168.60.0 255.255.255.0 eq https

!
!-- Permit or deny all other Layer 3 and Layer 4 traffic in accordance
!-- with existing security policies and configurations
!
!-- Explicit deny for all other IP traffic
!

access-list tACL-Policy extended deny ip any any

!
!-- Apply tACL to interface(s) in the ingress direction
!

access-group tACL-Policy in interface outside

Identification: Transit Access Control Lists

After the tACL has been applied to an interface, administrators can use the show access-list command to identify the number of packets on TCP port 443 that have been filtered. Administrators are advised to investigate filtered packets to determine whether they are attempts to exploit this vulnerability. Example output for show access-list tACL-Policy follows:

firewall#show access-list tACL-Policy
access-list tACL-Policy; 3 elements
access-list tACL-Policy line 1 extended permit tcp host 192.168.100.1 
     192.168.60.0 255.255.255.0 eq https (hitcnt=34)
access-list tACL-Policy line 2 extended deny tcp any 
     192.168.60.0 255.255.255.0 eq https (hitcnt=31)
access-list tACL-Policy line 3 extended deny ip any any (hitcnt=8)
firewall#

In the preceding example, access list tACL-Policy has dropped 31 packets on TCP port 443 received from an untrusted host or network. In addition, syslog message 106023 can provide valuable information, which includes the source and destination IP address, the source and destination port numbers, and the IP protocol for the denied packet.

Identification: Firewall Access List Syslog Messages

Firewall syslog message 106023 will be generated for packets denied by an access control entry (ACE) that does not have the log keyword present. Additional information about this syslog message is in Cisco ASA 5500 Series System Log Message, 8.2 - 106023.

Information about configuring syslog for the Cisco ASA 5500 Series Adaptive Security Appliance is in Monitoring - Configuring Logging. Information about configuring syslog on the FWSM for Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series switches and Cisco 7600 Series routers is in Monitoring the Firewall Services Module.

In the following example, the show logging | grep regex command extracts syslog messages from the logging buffer on the firewall. These messages provide additional information about denied packets that could indicate potential attempts to exploit the vulnerability that is described in this document. It is possible to use different regular expressions with the grep keyword to search for specific data in the logged messages.

Additional information about regular expression syntax is in Creating a Regular Expression.

firewall#show logging | grep 106023
  Mar 30 2011 00:29:13: %ASA-4-106023: Deny tcp src outside:192.0.2.18/4924 
         dst inside:192.168.60.191/443 by access-group "tACL-Policy"
  Mar 30 2011 00:29:13: %ASA-4-106023: Deny tcp src outside:192.0.2.200/4925 
         dst inside:192.168.60.33/443 by access-group "tACL-Policy"
  Mar 30 2011 00:29:13: %ASA-4-106023: Deny tcp src outside:192.0.2.99/4926 
         dst inside:192.168.60.240/443 by access-group "tACL-Policy"
  Mar 30 2011 00:29:13: %ASA-4-106023: Deny tcp src outside:192.0.2.100/4927 
         dst inside:192.168.60.115/443 by access-group "tACL-Policy"
firewall#

In the preceding example, the messages logged for the tACL tACL-Policy show packets for TCP port 443 sent to the address block assigned to affected devices.

Additional information about syslog messages for Cisco ASA security appliances is in Cisco ASA 5500 Series System Log Messages, 8.2. Additional information about syslog messages for the Cisco FWSM is in Catalyst 6500 Series Switch and Cisco 7600 Series Router Firewall Services Module Logging System Log Messages.

For additional information about investigating incidents using syslog events, reference the Identifying Incidents Using Firewall and IOS Router Syslog Events Applied Intelligence white paper.

Additional Information

THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED ON AN "AS IS" BASIS AND DOES NOT IMPLY ANY KIND OF GUARANTEE OR WARRANTY, INCLUDING THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR USE. YOUR USE OF THE INFORMATION ON THE DOCUMENT OR MATERIALS LINKED FROM THE DOCUMENT IS AT YOUR OWN RISK. CISCO RESERVES THE RIGHT TO CHANGE OR UPDATE THIS DOCUMENT AT ANY TIME.

Revision History

Revision 1.0

2011-MARCH-30

Initial 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 website at http://www.cisco.com/web/about/security/psirt/security_vulnerability_policy.html. This includes instructions for press inquiries regarding Cisco security notices. All Cisco security advisories are available at http://www.cisco.com/go/psirt.

Related Information


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