Cisco Security Response

Potential Exploitation of Default Administrative Credentials

Document ID: 620

http://tools.cisco.com/security/center/content/CiscoSecurityResponse/cisco-sr-20070215-http

Revision 1.0

For Public Release 2006 February 15 16:00  UTC (GMT)


Contents

Response
Additional Information
Status of this Notice: Final
Revision History
Cisco Security Procedures

Cisco Response

This is a response to a Symantec published research paper posted on their website at http://www.symantec.com/enterprise/security_response/weblog/2007/02/driveby_pharming_how_clicking_1.html and http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/reference/Driveby_Pharming.pdf, and entitled 'Drive-by Pharming'. In particular, this response focuses on the information in the Symantec paper, as relevant to certain of Cisco's non-consumer products. These products are specified in the 'Cisco Routers Impacted' section below.

Purpose of this Response

As the paper does not disclose any new vulnerability in Cisco products, Cisco is issuing this response and not a Security Advisory. The purpose of this response is to inform customers how to change any default credentials which may ship pre-configured on an impacted Cisco router (identified below), upon initial configuration and before the device is connected to a public network.

Cisco Routers Impacted

Several types of Cisco routers that are marketed for the Small Office/Home Office (SOHO), Remote Office/Branch Office (ROBO) and Teleworker business segments may include either Cisco Router Web Setup tool (CRWS) or Cisco Router and Security Device Manager (SDM), which are web-based device-management tools for Cisco IOS? Software-based routers.

Those Cisco routers have the Cisco IOS HTTP server enabled by default, to allow CRWS or SDM to communicate with the router. With either CRWS or SDM installed at shipping, the routers configuration will have a default username and password that is used to access the router via the HTTP web interface.

The following Cisco routers, whose configurations have been based on the default IOS configuration shipped with any version of CRWS prior to version 3.3.0 build 31, may be affected by this attack methodology if the default username and password have not been removed:

  • Cisco 806
  • Cisco 826
  • Cisco 827
  • Cisco 827H
  • Cisco 827-4v
  • Cisco 828
  • Cisco 831
  • Cisco 836
  • Cisco 837
  • Cisco SOHO 71
  • Cisco SOHO 76
  • Cisco SOHO 77
  • Cisco SOHO 77H
  • Cisco SOHO 78
  • Cisco SOHO 91
  • Cisco SOHO 96
  • Cisco SOHO 97

The following Cisco routers, whose configurations have been based on the default IOS configuration shipped with any version of SDM prior to version 2.3.3, may be affected by this attack methodology if the default username and password have not been removed.

For details regarding which units have SDM default configurations enabled at shipping, please consult Table 4: "Ordering and Factory Shipping Options for Cisco SDM" at: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/routers/ps5318/product_data_sheet0900aecd800fd118.html

Cisco SDM-Supported Routers

Cisco SDM-Supported Cisco IOS Releases

Cisco SB101

Cisco SB106

Cisco SB107

12.3(8)YG, 12.4(2)T or later releases

Cisco 831

Cisco 837

12.2(13)ZH or later releases

12.3(2)XA or later releases

12.3(2)T or later releases

12.4(2)T or later releases

Cisco 836

12.2(13)ZH or later releases

12.3(2)XA or later releases

12.3(4)T or later releases

12.4(2)T or later releases

Cisco 851

Cisco 857

12.3(8)YI

12.4(2)T or later releases

Cisco 871

Cisco 876

Cisco 877

Cisco 878

12.3(8)YI

12.4(2)T or later releases

Cisco 1701

12.2(13)ZH or later releases

12.3(2)XA or later releases

(Cisco SDM does not support Cisco IOS release 12.3(2)XF.)

12.3(4)T or later releases

12.4(2)T or later releases

Cisco 1711

Cisco 1712

12.2(15)ZL or later releases

12.3(2)XA or later releases

(Cisco SDM does not support Cisco IOS release 12.3(2)XF.)

12.4(2)T or later releases

Cisco 1710

Cisco 1721

Cisco 1751

Cisco 1751-v

Cisco 1760

Cisco 1760-v

12.2(13)ZH or later releases

12.3(2)XA or later releases

(Cisco SDM does not support Cisco IOS release 12.3(2)XF.)

12.2(13)T3 or later releases

12.3(2)T or later releases

12.3(1)M or later releases

12.2(15)ZJ3 (not available for the Cisco 1710 or Cisco 1721)

12.4(2)T or later releases

Cisco 1801

Cisco 1802

Cisco 1803

Cisco 1811

12.3(8)YI

12.4(2)T or later releases

Cisco 1812

12.3(8)YH or later releases

12.4(2)T or later releases

Cisco 1841

12.3(8)T4 or later releases

12.4(2)T or later releases

Cisco 2610XM

Cisco 2611XM

Cisco 2620XM

Cisco 2621XM

Cisco 2650XM

Cisco 2651XM

Cisco 2691

12.2(11)T6 or later releases

12.3(2)T or later releases

12.3(1)M or later releases

12.3(4)XD

12.2(15)ZJ3

12.4(2)T or later releases

Cisco 2801

Cisco 2811

Cisco 2821

Cisco 2851

12.3(8)T4 or later releases

12.4(2)T or later releases

Cisco 3640

Cisco 3661

Cisco 3662

12.2(11)T6 or later releases

12.2(11)T6 or later releases

12.3(2)T or later releases

12.3(1)M or later releases

12.3(4)XD

12.2(15)ZJ3

12.4(2)T or later releases

Cisco 3620

12.2(11)T6 or later releases

12.3(1)M or later releases

Cisco 3640A

12.2(13)T3 or later releases

12.3(2)T or later releases

12.3(1)M or later releases

12.3(4)XD

12.2(15)ZJ3

12.4(2)T or later releases

Cisco 3725

Cisco 3745

12.2(11)T6 or later releases

12.3(2)T or later releases

12.3(1)M or later releases

12.3(4)XD

12.2(15)ZJ3

12.4(2)T or later releases

Cisco 3825

Cisco 3845

12.3(11)T or later releases

12.4(2)T or later releases

Cisco 7204VXR

Cisco 7206VXR

12.3(2)T or later releases

12.3(1)M or later releases

12.4(2)T or later releases

Cisco SDM does not support B, E, or S train releases on the Cisco 7000 routers.

Cisco 7301

12.3(2)T or later releases

12.3(3)M or later releases

12.4(2)T or later releases

Cisco SDM does not support B, E, or S train releases on the Cisco 7000 routers.

Any of the previously listed Cisco routers whose IOS configuration is not based on the default IOS configuration shipped with either the CRWS or SDM application are not affected by this attack methodology.

Additional Information

The Cisco IOS HTTP server is enabled by default on several Cisco IOS devices for use with web-based configuration tools such as CRWS or SDM. If those products are configured via either CRWS or SDM, administrators will be prompted to change the default administrative credentials when they try to configure the device for the first time (earlier versions of CRWS did NOT request the changing of default credentials. For details see http://tools.cisco.com/security/center/content/CiscoSecurityAdvisory/cisco-sa-20060712-crws).

If the device first-time configuration is done using the command line interface (CLI) and not through the web-based interface, the administrator will NOT be prompted to change the default credentials nor will they be removed automatically by the device itself. Not changing or removing the default credentials leaves the device open to potential exploitation, as described in Symantec's research paper.

Cisco introduced a new security feature via Cisco Bug ID CSCse65910 ( registered customers only) , per which Cisco IOS has added a new keyword 'one-time' to the usernames. User credentials configured on the device and using the 'one-time' option can only be used once when the user connects to the router through a virtual terminal (vty) line or Console port. Cisco IOS will remove this credential from the running configuration after the initial use. The administrator of the device, should then add a username with a privilege level of 15 using the following command:

username "myuser" privilege 15 secret 0 "mypassword"

Replace 'myuser' and 'mypassword' with the username and password you choose to use, and save the changes to the startup configuration.

SDM takes advantage of this Cisco IOS feature from SDM version 2.3.3 or later. This feature is documented on Cisco Bug Toolkit as Cisco Bug ID CSCek35024 ( registered customers only) .

Cisco encourages customers to change any default credentials being used by those device managers during first use.

Recommended Workarounds

To help mitigate the risks associated with the type of attack presented in the Symantec paper, Cisco recommends that any default credentials shipped with the device (username/password combinations) be completely removed. If the Cisco router is not configured nor monitored by either SDM or CRWS, and if the IOS HTTP server is not required in your environment, it should be disabled.

Additional mitigations that can be deployed on Cisco devices within the network are available in the Cisco Applied Mitigation Bulletin companion document for this response: http://tools.cisco.com/security/center/content/CiscoAppliedMitigationBulletin/cisco-amb-20070215-http

  • Workaround 1 - Disabling the Cisco IOS HTTP Server Functionality
    Customers who do not use the CRWS or SDM device-management tools and not requiring the functionality provided by the Cisco IOS HTTP server can disable it by adding the following commands to their device configuration:
            no ip http server
            no ip http secure-server
    The second command might return an error message if the Cisco IOS version installed and running on the device does not support the SSL functionality. This error message is harmless and can be safely ignored.
  • Workaround 2 - Enabling Authentication of Requests to the Cisco IOS HTTP Server by Configuring an Enable Password
    Customers who use the CRWS or SDM device-management tools, or requiring the functionality provided by the Cisco IOS HTTP server should configure an authentication mechanism for access to the Cisco IOS HTTP server interface. One option is to configure an enable secret or enable password. The enable password is the default authentication mechanism used by the Cisco IOS HTTP server if no other method has been configured.
    To configure authentication of the http access via the enable secret password, add the following commands to the device configuration:
            enable secret "mypassword"
            ip http authentication enable
    Replace "mypassword" with a strong password of your choosing. For guidance on strong passwords, please refer to your site security policy. The document entitled "Cisco IOS Password Encryption Facts", available at http://www.cisco.com/en/US/tech/tk59/technologies_tech_note09186a00809d38a7.shtml, explains the differences between the enable secret and the enable password commands.
  • Workaround 3 - Enabling Authentication of Requests to the Cisco IOS HTTP Server by using an Authentication Mechanism Other than the Default
    Instead of configuring authentication using the default method as described in Workaround 2, configure an authentication mechanism for access to the Cisco IOS HTTP server via other mechanisms. Such authentication mechanisms can be the local user database, or a previously defined AAA (Authentication, Authorization and Accounting) method.
    As the procedure to enable an authentication mechanism for the Cisco IOS HTTP server varies across Cisco IOS releases and other additional factors, no example will be provided.
    Customers looking for information about how to configure an authentication mechanism for the Cisco IOS HTTP server are encouraged to read the document entitled "AAA Control of the IOS HTTP Server", available at http://www.cisco.com/en/US/tech/tk59/technologies_tech_note09186a008069bdc5.shtml.
    Note: The only authentication method tested and supported for use with the CRWS application is the local user database. No other methods (including the use of an external RADIUS or TACACS+ server) are supported.

References

  • Definition of Pharming
    The definition of pharming from "Protect Against Social Engineering" is shown below:
    " Pharming also takes advantage of false websites, by redirecting users to the false site as they attempt to access a legitimate website. This redirection, also known as domain spoofing, can be perpetrated through an e-mailed virus that lies dormant on a PC until the user enters a specific URL, or by poisoning a domain name system (DNS) directory. A DNS translates web and e-mail addresses into numeric strings. In a poisoned DNS, the links that associate web addresses with numeric strings are changed so users are directed to a false website when they enter a specific URL. Any secure information entered into the false website, such as a user name and password, is captured by hackers. "
     
  • Improving Security on Cisco Routers
    The document "Improving Security on Cisco Routers" is an informal discussion of some Cisco configuration settings that network administrators should consider changing on their routers, especially on their border routers, in order to improve security.

 

Status of this Notice: Final

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.


Revision History

Revision 1.0

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.


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