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Juniper, Cisco Hardware Vulnerable To DoS Attacks

Products from switch and router makers Juniper and Cisco have fatal flaws that could let hackers craft denial-of-service attacks which could disrupt enterprise networks.
Products from switch and router makers Juniper and Cisco have fatal flaws that could let hackers craft denial-of-service attacks which could disrupt enterprise networks, government and private security organizations said this week.

Customers should take the vulnerabilities seriously, wrote Amrit Williams, a Gartner analyst, in an online briefing posted Wednesday.

"A denial of service attack against a networking device has a much greater potential to affect productivity and networkwide functions than an attack against a workstation," he said.

The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) on Wednesday warned that all Juniper Network routers which run JUNOS software created prior to Jan. 7 of this year are susceptible to remotely-triggered DoS attacks.

"A remote, unauthenticated attacker may cause severe operational disruption to affected Juniper routers," the advisory stated. "Affected routers will suffer an effective denial of routing service when this vulnerability is exploited."

Juniper has posted its own security bulletin on its customer-only support site, and noted in the advisory that "routers running vulnerable JUNOS software are susceptible regardless of the router's configuration. It is not possible to use firewall filters to protect vulnerable routers."

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based network manufacturer wasn't the only victim of its own bugs. Rival Cisco admitted Wednesday that its Internetwork Operating System (IOS) has a vulnerability in how it processes Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) packets. An attacker sending specially-crafted IPv6 packets to an affected Cisco device could force it to reboot, resulting in a denial of service.

Cisco's posted an advisory and a software update on its Web site for the vulnerability that Danish security firm Secunia rated as "moderately critical." The company ranked the Juniper bug the same.

In fact, Cisco has been plagued with multiple vulnerability issues of late, with four separate warnings posted on US-CERT since last Wednesday.

"Companies looking to implement best practices for vulnerability management should include procedures to deal with networking devices, as well as desktops and servers," added Gartner's Williams.