Advisory ID: cisco-sa-20060823-vpn3k

Revision 1.0

For Public Release 2006 August 23 16:00  UTC (GMT)


Affected Products
Vulnerability Scoring Details
Software Versions and Fixes
Obtaining Fixed Software
Exploitation and Public Announcements
Status of this Notice: Final
Revision History
Cisco Security Procedures


The Cisco VPN 3000 series concentrators are affected by two vulnerabilities when file management via File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is enabled that could allow authenticated or unauthenticated attackers to execute certain FTP commands and delete files on the concentrator.

None of the vulnerabilities allows unauthorized users to transfer files from or to the concentrator.

Cisco has made free software available to address these vulnerabilities for affected customers. There are workarounds available to mitigate these vulnerabilities as well.

This advisory is posted at

Affected Products

Vulnerable Products

Cisco VPN 3000 series concentrators 3005, 3015, 3020, 3030, 3060, and the 3080 are affected by these vulnerabilities if they are running a vulnerable software version and if the concentrator is configured to use FTP as a management protocol. FTP as a management protocol is enabled by default.

Vulnerable software versions are:

There are two ways to determine whether the FTP protocol is enabled as a file management protocol: using the web Graphical User Interface (GUI), or using a Command-Line Interface (CLI) via a console, telnet, or Secure Shell (SSH) connection.

To use the GUI to determine whether the FTP protocol is enabled as a file management protocol, connect to the web administration interface of the concentrator via the URL:

https://<IP address of concentrator>/admin/

Then log in to the concentrator using the device administrator credentials and go to the screen "Configuration | System | Management Protocols | FTP". This screen will indicate whether the FTP server on the concentrator is enabled.

To accomplish the same thing using the CLI, log in to the concentrator using the chosen access method (console, Telnet or SSH) and go to the same screen ("Configuration -> System Management -> Management Protocols -> Configure FTP"). The prompt will indicate with a number whether the FTP server is enabled.

Products Confirmed Not Vulnerable

The Cisco VPN 3002 Hardware Client is not affected by these vulnerabilities.

Please note that Cisco VPN 3000 Series concentrators are not affected by these vulnerabilities if FTP is not configured as a management protocol.

No other Cisco products are currently known to be affected by these vulnerabilities.


The Cisco VPN 3000 series concentrators are a family of purpose-built, remote access Virtual Private Network (VPN) platforms for data encryption and authentication.

The File Transfer Protocol is an application-layer protocol that allows transfer of files between TCP/IP hosts. It uses Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) as the transport protocol and supports user authentication.

The Cisco VPN 3000 series concentrators can be configured to use the FTP protocol to manage files stored on the concentrator, like configuration files and certificates. Files can be uploaded to, or downloaded from, the concentrator for backup and configuration purposes.

Two vulnerabilities affect the Cisco VPN 3000 series concentrators when FTP is enabled as a file management protocol. By exploiting these vulnerabilities, an attacker could execute the following FTP commands:

These vulnerabilities are documented in Cisco Bug IDs CSCse10733 ( registered customers only) and CSCse10753 ( registered customers only) .

None of these vulnerabilities allows unauthorized users to download or upload files from/to the concentrator.

Vulnerability Scoring Details

Cisco has provided scores for the vulnerabilities in this advisory based on the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS). The CVSS scoring in this Security Advisory is done in accordance with CVSS version 2.0.

CVSS is a standards-based scoring method that conveys vulnerability severity and helps determine urgency and priority of response.

Cisco has provided a base and temporal score. Customers can then compute environmental scores to assist in determining the impact of the vulnerability in individual networks.

Cisco has provided an FAQ to answer additional questions regarding CVSS at .

Cisco has also provided a CVSS calculator to help compute the environmental impact for individual networks at .


Successful exploitation of these vulnerabilities may allow an attacker to:

Please note that since none of these vulnerabilities allows an attacker to upload or download files to/from the concentrator, it is not possible to obtain the configuration of a device or to upload a modified configuration by exploiting the vulnerabilities.

Software Versions and Fixes

When considering software upgrades, also consult and any subsequent advisories to determine exposure and a complete upgrade solution.

In all cases, customers should exercise caution to be certain the devices to be upgraded contain sufficient memory and that current hardware and software configurations will continue to be supported properly by the new release. If the information is not clear, contact the Cisco Technical Assistance Center ("TAC") or your contracted maintenance provider for assistance.

Both vulnerabilities are fixed in versions 4.1(7)M and 4.7(2)G of the VPN 3000 Series Concentrators software.

Fixed versions of the Cisco VPN 3000 Series concentrators software can be downloaded from the following location: ( registered customers only)


This section provides workarounds for these vulnerabilities.

Disabling FTP

If FTP is not needed to manage the VPN 3000 concentrator, network security best practices recommend that it be disabled. This will completely eliminate the vulnerability. Secure alternatives to FTP include Secure Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol (HTTPS) and Secure Copy (SCP) via Secure Shell (SSH).

The use of FTP as a management protocol can be disabled by connecting to the web administration interface of the concentrator via the URL:

https://<IP address of concentrator>/admin/

and then logging in to the concentrator using the device administrator credentials, going to the screen "Configuration | System | Management Protocols | FTP", and unchecking the "Enable" checkbox.

Limiting FTP Access

It is possible to limit the exposure of the concentrator by permitting remote FTP management connections only from known, trusted IP addresses. This is also considered a network security best practice.

Limiting FTP access to specific IP addresses can be accomplished on the VPN 3000 Series concentrators by defining rules and filters. The traffic filters can be mapped to the interfaces, LAN-to-LAN tunnels, and VPN groups. Traffic rules and filters are configured via the GUI in the screen "Configuration | Policy Management | Traffic Management".

To allow FTP access only from specific IP addresses, at least two traffic rules must be defined. The first rule would permit FTP traffic from a specific, trusted IP address or IP subnet. The second rule would deny all other FTP traffic directed at the private interface.

The parameters of the first rule could be:

This rule will permit inbound TCP port 21 (FTP) traffic but only when the traffic originates from a specific IP address range.

The parameters of the second rule could be:

This rule will drop and log all inbound TCP port 21 (FTP) traffic that is directed at the IP address of the private interface.

Note:  When new rules are added to a filter, the new rules get added at the bottom of the list of existing rules in the filter. The concentrator processes rules in a filter in sequential order, so if at the bottom of the list there is a rule that permits all traffic (which is the case with the predefined "Private" filter applied by default to the Private interface), then the new rules will not be executed. For this reason it is important that the new rules intended to allow FTP traffic only from trusted addresses be moved to the top of the list of rules.

When the traffic rules have been created, they need to be added to a filter by going to the GUI screen "Configuration | Policy Management | Traffic Management | Filters", selecting the desired filter from the list, clicking on the "Assign Rules to Filter" button, and then selecting the new filter rules and clicking on the "<< Add" button.

To completely protect the VPN 3000 concentrator from unauthorized FTP traffic, the filter with the new traffic rules needs to be applied to the following:

By adding these two traffic rules to the filter applied to the an interface, LAN-to-LAN tunnel, and VPN group, the FTP traffic directed at the concentrator will only be allowed from the specific, trusted IP addresses, regardless of where the IP addresses are located, i.e. internal network or across a VPN tunnel. FTP traffic directed at the concentrator from anywhere else will be dropped and logged. All other FTP traffic is not affected by these rules.

If you do not wish to define multiple filters for each interface and the VPN tunnels, you can add the two traffic rules described above to the default "Private" filter and then apply this filter to the Private interface as well as to any LAN-to-LAN connections and Remote Access VPN groups.

Please note that using the "Access Control List" feature ("Administration | Access Rights | Access Control List") to control FTP access will not protect against these vulnerabilities because the check for valid IP addresses takes place at authentication time, and the actual vulnerability described in this document takes place before authentication.

In addition to the access control mechanism that can be implemented on the VPN 3000 concentrator itself, FTP access to the VPN 3000 concentrator could be blocked as part of an Infrastructure Access Control List (ACL) on screening routers, switches and firewalls controlling all access to the trusted network. Infrastructure ACLs are considered a network security best practice and should be considered as a long-term addition to good network security, as well as a workaround for this specific vulnerability. The white paper entitled "Protecting Your Core: Infrastructure Protection Access Control Lists" presents guidelines and recommended deployment techniques:

Backing Up Configuration and Certificates

Always keep backup copies, outside of the concentrator's file system, of the concentrator's configuration and certificates.

Management of configuration files can be done from the GUI screen "Administration | File Management". Please refer to the "File Management" section of the VPN 3000 Series Concentrator Reference, Volume II, for additional information:

Management of certificates can be done from the GUI screen "Administration | Certificate Management". Please refer to the "Certificate Management" section of the VPN 3000 Series Concentrator Reference, Volume II, for additional information:

Obtaining Fixed Software

Cisco has made free software available to address this vulnerability for affected customers. Prior to deploying software, customers should consult their maintenance provider or check the software for feature set compatibility and known issues specific to their environment.

Customers may only install and expect support for the feature sets they have purchased. By installing, downloading, accessing or otherwise using such software upgrades, customers agree to be bound by the terms of Cisco's software license terms found at, or as otherwise set forth at Downloads at

Do not contact either "" or "" for software upgrades.

Have your product serial number available and 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.

Refer to for additional TAC contact information, including special localized telephone numbers and instructions and e-mail addresses for use in various languages.

Customers with Service Contracts

Customers with contracts should obtain upgraded software through their regular update channels. For most customers, this means that upgrades should be obtained through the Software Center on Cisco's worldwide website at

Customers using Third Party Support Organizations

Customers whose Cisco products are provided or maintained through prior or existing agreement with third-party support organizations such as Cisco Partners, authorized resellers, or service providers should contact that support organization for guidance and assistance with the appropriate course of action in regards to this advisory.

The effectiveness of any workaround or fix is dependent on specific customer situations such as product mix, network topology, traffic behavior, and organizational mission. Due to the variety of affected products and releases, customers should consult with their service provider or support organization to ensure any applied workaround or fix is the most appropriate for use in the intended network before it is deployed.

Customers without Service Contracts

Customers who purchase direct from Cisco but who do not hold a Cisco service contract and customers who purchase through third-party vendors but are unsuccessful at obtaining fixed software through their point of sale should get their upgrades by contacting the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC). TAC contacts are as follows.

Exploitation and Public Announcements

The Cisco PSIRT is not aware of any public announcements or malicious use of the vulnerability described in this advisory.

This vulnerability was reported to Cisco by the NCC Group ( Cisco would like to thank the NCC Group for reporting this vulnerability and working with us towards resolution of this problem.

Status of this Notice: Final


A stand-alone copy or Paraphrase of the text of this document that omits the distribution URL in the following section is an uncontrolled copy, and may lack important information or contain factual errors.


This advisory is posted on Cisco's worldwide website 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.

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

Revision History

Revision 1.0


Initial 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 website at This includes instructions for press inquiries regarding Cisco security notices. All Cisco security advisories are available at