Advisory ID: cisco-sa-20000419-catos-enable-bypass
For Public Release 2000 April 19 15:00 UTC (GMT)
Vulnerability Scoring Details
Software Versions and Fixes
Obtaining Fixed Software
Exploitation and Public Announcements
Status of This Notice: Final
Cisco Security Procedures
Cisco Catalyst software permits unauthorized access to the enable mode in the 5.4(1) release. Once initial access is granted, access can be obtained for the higher level "enable" mode without a password. This problem is resolved in version 5.4(2). Customers with vulnerable releases are urged to upgrade as soon as possible.
This vulnerability has been assigned Cisco bug ID CSCdr10025.
This advisory is posted at http://tools.cisco.com/security/center/content/CiscoSecurityAdvisory/cisco-sa-20000419-catos-enable-bypass.
This section provides details on affected products.
All users of Cisco Catalyst 4000, 5000, 5500, 6000 and 6500 with the software version 5.4(1) only.
The affected image names are as follows:
No other releases of Cisco Catalyst software are affected by this vulnerability. No other Cisco products are currently known to be affected by these vulnerabilities.
Anyone who can obtain ordinary console access to an affected switch can bypass password authentication to obtain "enable" mode access without knowledge of the "enable" password. This vulnerability can be exploited through the network using telnet or via the physical console.
This problem was introduced in software version 5.4(1), and is corrected in version 5.4(2). Due to this defect, software version 5.4(1) is deferred. Customers are urged to upgrade to version 5.4(2).
CVSS is a standards-based scoring method that conveys vulnerability severity and helps determine urgency and priority of response.
Cisco has provided a base and temporal score. Customers can then compute environmental scores to assist in determining the impact of the vulnerability in individual networks.
Cisco has provided an FAQ to answer additional questions regarding CVSS at
Cisco has also provided a CVSS calculator to help compute the environmental impact for individual networks at
This vulnerability permits unauthorized access to the configuration mode and unauthorized configuration changes on a Catalyst switch.
When considering software upgrades, also consult http://www.cisco.com/go/psirt and any subsequent advisories to determine exposure and a complete upgrade solution.
In all cases, customers should exercise caution to be certain the devices to be upgraded contain sufficient memory and that current hardware and software configurations will continue to be supported properly by the new release. If the information is not clear, contact the Cisco Technical Assistance Center ("TAC") or your contracted maintenance provider for assistance.
There are no known workarounds for this vulnerability. Strictly limiting telnet access to the device will prevent the initial connection required to exploit this vulnerability. Telnet access can be controlled with the following command set:
set ip permit <address> <mask> telnet
set ip permit enable
This command set will deny all traffic not specified in the permit statement.
Cisco has made free software available to address this vulnerability for affected customers. Prior to deploying software, customers should consult their maintenance provider or check the software for feature set compatibility and known issues specific to their environment.
Customers may only install and expect support for the feature sets they have purchased. By installing, downloading, accessing or otherwise using such software upgrades, customers agree to be bound by the terms of Cisco's software license terms found at http://www.cisco.com/public/sw-license-agreement.html, or as otherwise set forth at Cisco.com Downloads at http://www.cisco.com/public/sw-center/sw-usingswc.shtml.
Do not contact either "email@example.com" or "firstname.lastname@example.org" for software upgrades.
Customers with contracts should obtain upgraded software through their regular update channels. For most customers, this means that upgrades should be obtained through the Software Center on Cisco's worldwide website at http://www.cisco.com.
Customers whose Cisco products are provided or maintained through prior or existing agreement with third-party support organizations such as Cisco Partners, authorized resellers, or service providers should contact that support organization for guidance and assistance with the appropriate course of action in regards to this advisory.
The effectiveness of any workaround or fix is dependent on specific customer situations such as product mix, network topology, traffic behavior, and organizational mission. Due to the variety of affected products and releases, customers should consult with their service provider or support organization to ensure any applied workaround or fix is the most appropriate for use in the intended network before it is deployed.
Customers who purchase direct from Cisco but who do not hold a Cisco service contract and customers who purchase through third-party vendors but are unsuccessful at obtaining fixed software through their point of sale 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)
Have your product serial number available and 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.
Refer to http://www.cisco.com/warp/public/687/Directory/DirTAC.shtml for additional TAC contact information, including special localized telephone numbers and instructions and e-mail addresses for use in various languages.
Cisco Systems knows of no public discussion nor active exploits involving this vulnerability, which was reported by several customers who encountered it during normal use.
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A stand-alone copy or Paraphrase of the text of this document that omits the distribution URL in the following section is an uncontrolled copy, and may lack important information or contain factual errors.
This notice will be posted on Cisco's Worldwide Web site at http://tools.cisco.com/security/center/content/CiscoSecurityAdvisory/cisco-sa-20000419-catos-enable-bypass. 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:
email@example.com (includes CERT/CC)
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.
Initial public release.
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/web/about/security/psirt/security_vulnerability_policy.html. This includes instructions for press inquiries regarding Cisco security notices.