Cisco firewall vulnerability could give attackers keys to the kingdom

representational image of a cloud firewall
(Image credit: Pixabay)

Cisco has fixed a vulnerability that impacted an entire line of hardware firewall products, and could be exploited to remotely execute arbitrary code and control the device.

Discovered by cybersecurity researchers at Positive Technologies, the vulnerability existed in the Cisco Firepower Device Manager (FDM) On-Box, a software that’s designed to locally configure Cisco firewalls, specifically the Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW) product.

According to the researchers, threat actors could exploit the vulnerability to alter the firewall’s traffic filtering abilities, or perhaps even shut it down completely. Furthermore, if the attackers are located on the same subnet as the firewall, they could even use the vulnerability to access other corporate resources as well.

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Fire in the hole

Tracked as CVE-2021-1518, the vulnerability was discovered in the REST API implemented by Cisco FDM and had CVSS 3.1. score of 6.3.

“To exploit this vulnerability, all attackers need to do is to obtain credentials of a user with low privileges and send a specially crafted HTTP request,” explained Positive Technologies security researcher, Nikita Abramov.

The vulnerability impacts Cisco FDM On-Box versions 6.3.0 to 6.7.0, and the networking giant has released updates for all affected versions.

Interestingly, from a technical standpoint, Abramov explains that the vulnerability is the result of “insufficient user input validation for some REST API commands.” From the explanation it appears that the vulnerability was just limited to Cisco FDM On-Box and doesn’t exist in the REST API that is popularly used by web developers.

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.