Advisory ID: cisco-sa-20060405-css
For Public Release 2006 April 5 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 CSS 11500 Series Content Services Switches configured for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) compression are vulnerable to a Denial of Service (DoS) attack when processing valid, but obsolete, or specially crafted HTTP request.
Cisco has made free software available to address this vulnerability for affected customers. The workaround is to disable HTTP compression.
This advisory is posted at http://tools.cisco.com/security/center/content/CiscoSecurityAdvisory/cisco-sa-20060405-css.
This section provides details on affected products.
Cisco CSS 11500 Series Content Services Switches that are configured for HTTP compression are vulnerable.
A Cisco CSS11500 that is configured for HTTP compression will have configuration similar to the following, which can be seen by issuing the show running-config command:
service compression_service_name .... .... compress enable .... ....
Cisco CSS 11500 Series Content Services Switches that are not configured for HTTP compression are not vulnerable.
No other Cisco products are currently known to be affected by these vulnerabilities.
The Cisco CSS 11500 Content Service Switch is load balancing device designed to provide robust, scalable network services (Layer 4-7) for data centers. The Cisco CSS 11500 performs an analysis of protocol headers and directs requests to an appropriate resource based on configurable policies. With a compression module, a Cisco CSS 11500 can compress HTTP client traffic.
For more information about HTTP compression on CSS 11500 switches, refer to the following URL:
A Cisco CSS 11500 enabled for HTTP compression may reload after receiving valid, but obsolete, or specially crafted HTTP request.
Cisco CSS 11500 switches where HTTP compression is not used or is disabled are not affected by this vulnerability.
The vulnerability is documented in the following Cisco Bug ID:
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
Successful exploitation of the vulnerability may result in the reload of the device. Repeated exploitation could result in a sustained DoS attack.
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.
This issue is fixed in version 18.104.22.168 of CSS software. Fixed software can be downloaded from the following URL::
The workaround is to disable HTTP compression. That can be accomplished using the compress disable command.
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 athttp://www.cisco.com/public/sw-center/sw-usingswc.shtml.
Do not contact either "firstname.lastname@example.org" or "email@example.com" 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.
The Cisco PSIRT is not aware of any public announcements or malicious use of the vulnerability described in this advisory.
This vulnerability was reported to Cisco by a customer.
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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 advisory is posted on Cisco's worldwide website at http://tools.cisco.com/security/center/content/CiscoSecurityAdvisory/cisco-sa-20060405-css.
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.
Future updates of this advisory, if any, will be placed on Cisco's worldwide website, but may or may not be actively announced on mailing lists or newsgroups. Users concerned about this problem are encouraged to check the above URL 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 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.