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Cisco Issues Security Advisory For Security Software

The alert warns of a buffer overflow vulnerability in the Cisco Security Agent (CSA) for Windows, with remote code execution as the possible outcome.

The SANS Internet Storm center is warning organizations using Cisco products that contain Cisco Security Agent (CSA) for Windows to patch the program immediately because the security software is insecure.

"Cisco [has] just released an advisory covering a buffer overflow vulnerability in the Cisco Security Agent (CSA) for Windows, with remote code execution as the possible outcome," said Daniel Wesemann, a handler at the Internet Storm Center, in an online post. "CSA is a 'personal firewall' style product, and usually deployed as a defense against exactly the sort of threat that the component itself is now vulnerable to."

Wesemann observes that in 2004, a vulnerability of this sort would probably lead to a flurry of worms. Currently, drive-by spyware installation is a more likely consequence. "The bottom line is still the same: If you are using the vulnerable component, patch as soon as possible," he said.

In a security advisory issued on Wednesday, Cisco warned that the buffer overflow vulnerability could be exploited to "causes corruption of kernel memory, which leads to a Windows stop error (blue screen) or to arbitrary code execution."

According to Cisco, the vulnerability could be triggered using a maliciously crafted TCP segment sent to TCP port 139 or 445, which are used by the Microsoft Server Message Block (SMB) protocol.

Free CSA patches are available for download from the Cisco site. The company has also published vulnerability mitigation information for security professionals.

Also on Thursday, Cisco introduced a new software architecture that combines identity and role-based security, which is intended to be implemented across enterprise networks.

The software, called Cisco Trusted Security or TrustSec, can be deployed enterprise-wide and utilized to authenticate users, assign roles, and enforce policies on networks comprised of Cisco's switches, routers, and Unified Wireless Network controllers.

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