‘Hard-To-Fix’ Cisco Flaw Puts Work Email At Risk

An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: Security researchers have discovered serious vulnerabilities affecting dozens of Cisco devices. The flaws allow hackers to deceive the part of the product hardware that checks whether software updates come from legitimate sources. Experts believe this could put emails sent within an organization at risk as they may use compromised routers. Messages sent externally constitute less of a risk, however, as they tend to be encrypted. The California-based firm said it is working on “software fixes” for all affected hardware.

“We’ve shown that we can quietly and persistently disable the Trust Anchor,” Red Balloon chief executive Ang Cui, told Wired magazine. “That means we can make arbitrary changes to a Cisco router, and the Trust Anchor will still report that the device is trustworthy. Which is scary and bad, because this is in every important Cisco product. Everything.” Security experts believe that the vulnerability could cause a major headache for Cisco, which has listed dozens of its products as vulnerable on its website. “We don’t know how many devices could have been affected and it’s unlikely Cisco can tell either,” said Prof Alan Woodward, a computer security expert based at Surrey University. “It could cost Cisco a lot of money.”

Security firm Red Balloon has set up a website with more details on the vulnerabilities, which they are calling “Thrangycat.”