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RE: Addressing Cisco Security Issues
From: "Burton M. Strauss III" <security () SmallNetSolutions com>
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 2004 18:29:46 -0600

Really, your gripe is with Alltel which refused to provide it to you.

Maybe a non-Alltel e-mail account is a red flag, but they certainly should
have been willing to provide it to the contact address they have on your
account.  Whether electronically or via snail mail - I'm SURE they have an
address for you so you can be billed, right???

In Cisco's defense, there are 1000s (10000s? 100000s?) of these units out
there and most of them have ISP specific configurations.  If you apply
generic firmware, you are going to wipe the settings - and Cisco has no way
of knowing how the unit was configured.

Still, it would be best practices for Cisco to provide the generic firmware,
with a document showing how to save and restore the settings.  However, they
may not be contractually able to do so...


I have to post this because I consider this to be a security issue in it's
own right.

Recently there were a number of exploits released for cisco
equipment, among
the affected equipment were the 677 and 678 consumer DSL routers of which
there are millions in use.

I have one such router, the DSL circuit is provided by Alltel and I work
the ISP who provides the actual internet access.

So upon reading recent warning notice sent to the security email lists
the exploits being publicly available I went and read
http://www.cisco.com/warp/public/707/CBOS-DoS.shtml which pretty much says
any router running a version of CBOS prior to 2.4.5 (actually you need
because of later exploits) is vulnerable.

So like a good netizen I contacted cisco TAC via telephone, gave them my
serial number and they informed me that they could not provide the
update because my router is registered to alltel (alltel did provide the
router when I ordered the DSL circuit), please call Alltel to
get it. Ok so
then I called Alltel, who told me no problem we can email you the update
asked for my email address. Except since Alltel is not the ISP I don't
an alltel email address so then they won't email it to me, please contact
your ISP. I then informed Alltel that I AM MY ISP to which they replied
still could not provide the patch and that I would have to get it from

So then I call Cisco TAC again, this time I explain the full details of
I've just been thru and the tech decides to ask someone. Comes back and
if I register on the cisco website that he can open a ticket and get
to call me back on it. (I'm presently waiting for that call)

In the mean time I decided to google for it and low and behold I found
on a website (url not posted to protect the life saving individuals who
it on the web). Now of course I've no way to know if this version I just
found is safe or not but HELLO CISCO???

If you are going to issue security alerts that require ISP's and consumers
to patch their hardware devices then you had better damn well make sure
folks can actually GET THE PATCHES. It would require no effort at all to
post a bogus version full of back doors and whatnot on the web and after
seeing the nightmare it is to obtain the patch thru official channels it's
clear to me that this would be a very popular download.


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