The intrusion prevention capabilities of Cisco Systems routers could be prone to attack, after the networking giant revealed two vulnerabilities in its key operating system.
The vulnerabilities affect versions of Cisco Internetwork Operating System (IOS) that start with “12.3” and “12.4.” Almost all Cisco routers run a version of IOS. The flaws allow an attacker to circumvent the IPS protection built into the affected routers and also cause routers to crash.
IPS is an inspection feature found in networking products, including Cisco, which aims to block unauthorized network access and malicious code in real time.
In a security advisory, Cisco said there were two vulnerabilities: one that could lead to the IPS being circumvented, and the other could cause a denial of service condition. The operation of the first weakness “may result in an attacker being able to avoid detection by an IOS IPS device. This could allow security systems to be covertly attacked,” Cisco warned. A hacker exploiting the second vulnerability “may cause an IOS IPS device accident.”
He urged IT managers who are affected Cisco routers to patch the IOS.
Last month, Cisco found two other vulnerabilities in IOS. The first weakness could lead to a denial of service attack, while the second allows hackers to execute malicious code on the device. After news of the vulnerabilities, Cisco made patches available.
Cisco routers are the routers most popular company in the world. As such, IOS is the network operating system that many hackers try to exploit.