Advisory ID: cisco-sa-20071010-wcs
For Public Release 2007 October 10 16:00 UTC (GMT)
Customers who use the CiscoWorks Wireless LAN Solution Engine (WLSE)
may use a conversion utility to convert over to a Cisco Wireless Control System
(WCS). This conversion utility creates and uses administrative accounts with
default credentials. Because there is no requirement to change these
credentials during the conversion process, an attacker may be able to leverage
the accounts that have default credentials to take full administrative control
of the WCS after the conversion has been completed.
Customers who have converted their CiscoWorks WLSE to a Cisco WCS are
advised to set strong passwords for all accounts on their Cisco WCS.
This advisory is posted at
Cisco WCS systems that have been converted from a CiscoWorks WLSE using
the conversion utility for version 126.96.36.199 or earlier are vulnerable.
Cisco WCS systems that have not been converted from a CiscoWorks WLSE
using the conversion utility are not affected by this problem. Additionally,
Cisco WCS systems that have been converted from a CiscoWorks WLSE using the
conversion utility for version 4.2 or later are not vulnerable.
For more information about Cisco Unified Wireless Network Software
Release 4.2, visit:
No other Cisco products are currently known to be affected by this
CiscoWorks WLSE is a centralized, systems-level application for
managing and controlling an entire autonomous Cisco wireless LAN (WLAN)
infrastructure. The Cisco Wireless Control System (WCS) is a centralized,
systems-level application for managing and controlling lightweight access
points and wireless LAN controllers for the Cisco Unified Wireless Network.
A CiscoWorks WLSE can be converted to a Cisco WCS using a utility that
can be ordered from Cisco. There are two administrative accounts on the
Wireless Control System (WCS): a Linux root account and Cisco WCS root account.
Vulnerable versions of the conversion utility do not force the administrator to
change the password for the Linux "root" user of the newly converted system.
Non-vulnerable versions of the conversion utility force the administrator to
change both account passwords.
More information about the conversion utility is available in the
of a WLSE Autonomous Deployment to a WCS Controller Deployment appendix
in the Cisco Wireless Control System Configuration Guide.
Cisco is providing scores for the vulnerabilities in this advisory
based on the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS). The CVSS scoring in
this Security Advisory is done in accordance with CVSS version 2.0.
Cisco will provide a base and temporal score. Customers can then
compute environmental scores to assist in determining the impact of the
vulnerability in individual networks.
Cisco PSIRT will set the bias in all cases to normal. Customers are
encouraged to apply the bias parameter when determining the environmental
impact of a particular vulnerability.
Cisco has provided a FAQ to answer additional questions regarding CVSS
Cisco has also provided a CVSS calculator to help compute the
environmental impact for individual networks at
CSCsj71081 - Need to have installer on WLSE-WCS conversion
Calculate the environmental score of
CVSS Base Score - 10.0
CVSS Temporal Score - 8.3
Successful exploitation of the vulnerability may result in full
administrative control of the Cisco WCS system or user-level access to the host
Linux operating system.
When considering software upgrades, also consult
and any subsequent advisories to determine exposure and a complete upgrade
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
The vulnerability described in this document can be eliminated by
logging in to the affected WCS and changing the default password for the
administrative Linux root account to a strong password chosen by the user.
Refer to the
User Accounts chapter of the Cisco Wireless Control System Configuration
Guide for more information about changing administrative accounts.
Cisco will make free software available to address this vulnerability
for affected customers. This advisory will be updated as fixed software becomes
available. 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
or as otherwise set forth at Cisco.com Downloads at
Do not contact either "email@example.com" or "firstname.lastname@example.org"
for software upgrades.
Because the fix for this vulnerability is a default configuration
change, and a workaround is available, a software upgrade is not required to
address this vulnerability. However, if you have a service contract, and would
like to upgrade to unaffected code, you may obtain upgraded software through
your regular update channels when that software is available. For most
customers, this means that upgrades should be obtained through the Software
Center on Cisco's worldwide web site at http://www.cisco.com.
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
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.
for additional TAC contact information, including special localized telephone
numbers and instructions and e-mail addresses for use in various
The Cisco PSIRT is not aware of any public announcements or malicious
use of the vulnerability described in this advisory.
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.
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:
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.
Updated link to the CVSS score of
Initial public release.