Security Advisory: Cisco Content Services Switch Vulnerability

Revision 1.0

For Public Release 2001 January 31 08:00 (GMT +0800)



The Cisco Content Services (CSS) switch product, also known as Arrowpoint,
has several security vulnerabilities once access to the command line
interface (CLI) is granted.  The first vulnerability, the switch can be
forced into a temporary denial of service by an unprivileged user, this is
documented in Cisco Bug ID CSCdt08730.   The second issue allows a
non-privileged user to view filenames and file contents.  This is
documented in Cisco Bug ID CSCdt12748.

The full text of this advisory can be viewed at:

Affected Products

The Cisco Content Services Switch is affected by this group of
vulnerabilities.  The CSS switch is also known as Arrowpoint product, and
runs the Cisco WebNS Software.

Cisco CSS 11050, CSS 11150, and CSS 11800 hardware platforms are affected
by this group of vulnerabilities.

No other Cisco products are affected by this group of vulnerabilities.


The Cisco CSS11000 must be configured to permit command line access to
users by providing a management address and defining user accounts.  Once
command line access is gained by non privileged users (defined user
accounts without administrative privileges), running a command requiring a
filename, and providing a filename that is the maximum length of the input
buffer can cause the switch to reboot, and a system check to be started
which will prevent normal function of the switch for up to 5 minutes.  The
show script, clear script, show archive, clear archive, show log, and clear
log commands are capable of causing the CSS to restart  if the specified
file name is the maximum length of the input buffer.  Cisco Bug ID

If command line access is not restricted, a  non privileged user (defined
user account without administrative privileges) can gain information on the
directory structure by requesting non-existent filenames. Additionally, the
non privileged user can gain read access for files if the directory
structure of the target files are known to the user.   Cisco Bug ID
CSCdt12748 describes this file system vulnerability.


The vulnerability described in CSCdt08730 can be continuously reproduced to
produce a Denial of Service attack.  The additional vulnerabilities provide
unauthorized access to important files such as the configuration files, and
directory structure information. If access to the command line interface is
well protected and restricted, then these vulnerabilities are minimized.

Software Versions and Fixes

CSCdt08730 is resolved in revision 4.01(12s), and revision 3.10 (71s) of
Cisco WebNS software.  The file system information disclosure
vulnerabilities are scheduled to be fixed, but are currently unresolved.
Workarounds are recommended in the interim.  This notice will be updated
when the vulnerabilities are resolved, or monthly until the vulnerabilities
are resolved.

Obtaining Fixed Software

Cisco is offering free software upgrades to eliminate this vulnerability
for all affected customers.   As interim fixes of the software are
currently available, these will be posted to the Cisco website on
2001-FEB-01.  Until that time, customers can call the Cisco Technical
Assistance Center for access to the interim files.

Customers without contracts should get their upgrades by contacting the
Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC). TAC contacts are as follows:

   * +1 800 553 2447 (toll-free from within North America)
   * +1 408 526 7209 (toll call from anywhere in the world)
   * e-mail: [EMAIL PROTECTED]

Give the URL of this notice as evidence of your entitlement to a free
upgrade. Free upgrades for non-contract customers must be requested through
the TAC. Please do not contact either "[EMAIL PROTECTED]" or
"[EMAIL PROTECTED]" for software upgrades.


Access control lists can be applied to restrict access to the Cisco CSS
device, as well as additional firewall or access lists to restrict
connection to the management interface.  Access control lists also affect
traffic to the Virtual interface of the Cisco CSS device, so must be
applied with care.  For further details on configuring access lists please
refer to the product documentation:



Additionally, the use of SSH to prevent snooping of the management traffic
to the device is encouraged.

Telnet service can also be disabled, for many customers in a co-location
environment this is not a feasible option, but is included in this section
for customers that may have the ability to implement this configuration.

    CS150(config)# telnet access disabled

Additionally, it is recommended to select strong passwords in accordance
with your own security policies, and to adhere to your own security
policies on changing passwords frequently, or when staffing changes occur.

Exploitation and Public Announcements

The Cisco PSIRT is not aware of any public announcements or malicious use
of the vulnerabilities described in this advisory.  These vulnerabilities
were discovered by a Security Consulting firm during a customer security

Status of This Notice: INTERIM

This is an interim notice. Although Cisco cannot guarantee the accuracy of
all statements in this notice, all of the facts have been checked to the
best of our ability.   Cisco anticipates issuing updated versions of this
notice as the software is updated. Cisco will update this notice by


This notice will be posted on Cisco's Worldwide Web site at
In addition to Worldwide Web posting, a text version of this notice is
clear-signed with the Cisco PSIRT PGP key and is posted to the following
e-mail and Usenet news recipients:

   * [EMAIL PROTECTED] (includes CERT/CC)
   * comp.dcom.sys.cisco
   * Various internal Cisco mailing lists

Future updates of this notice, if any, will be placed on Cisco's Worldwide
Web server, but may or may not be actively announced on mailing lists or
newsgroups. Users concerned about this problem are encouraged to check the
URL given above for any updates.

Revision History

 Revision    31-JAN-2001Initial public release

Cisco Security Procedures

Complete information on reporting security vulnerabilities in Cisco
products, obtaining assistance with security incidents, and registering to
receive security information from Cisco, is available on Cisco's Worldwide
Web site at
http://www.cisco.com/warp/public/707/sec_incident_response.shtml. This
includes instructions for press inquiries regarding Cisco security notices.


This notice is Copyright 2001 by Cisco Systems, Inc. This notice may be
redistributed freely after the release date given at the top of the text,
provided that redistributed copies are complete and unmodified, and include
all date and version information.


Version: PGP 6.0.2


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