Advisory ID: cisco-sa-20041215-guard
For Public Release 2004 December 15 19:00 UTC (GMT)
The Cisco Guard and Cisco Traffic Anomaly Detector software contains a
default password for an administrative account. This password is set, without
any user's intervention, during installation of the software used by the Cisco
Guard and Traffic Anomaly Detector Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
mitigation appliances, and is the same in all installations of the product.
Software version 3.0 and earlier of the Cisco Guard and Traffic
Anomaly Detector are affected by this vulnerability. Customers running version
3.1 or higher of the software are not affected. There are workarounds available
including one that does not require a reboot of the device. Cisco has made free
software available to address this problem.
The vulnerabilities are documented as the following Cisco bug IDs:
registered customers only)
registered customers only)
This advisory is available at
This section provides details on affected products.
All versions of the software for the Cisco Guard and Cisco Traffic
Anomaly Detector prior to version 3.1 are affected by this vulnerability.
There are three ways to determine the software version that your Cisco
Guard and Cisco Traffic Anomaly Detector DDoS mitigation appliances are
Virtual terminal or local serial console
Remote Secure Shell (SSH) connection
Remote secure web session
What follows is an example of each method; you should choose the method
that applies to your particular environment and network setup.
To determine the software version number through the local serial
console use a serial cable and a terminal emulation program to connect to the
appliance. Once you are connected press the Enter key of your
terminal and the Guard and Traffic Anomaly Detector will present, without even
logging in, the version of the software running on the devices:
In this example the Cisco Guard is running software version 3.1.
Cisco Guard Version 3.1(0.12)
For a virtual terminal the procedure is the same except that no
serial cable or terminal emulation program is needed (a standard keyboard and
monitor are directly connected to the appliance.)
To obtain the software version number through a SSH session use a
SSH client to log into the Cisco Guard or Cisco Traffic Anomaly Detector and
issue the show version command-line interface (CLI)
command. The following example shows an interaction with a Cisco Traffic
In this example the Cisco Traffic Anomaly Detector is running
software version 3.1.
prompt$ ssh firstname.lastname@example.org
Last login: Wed Nov 24 22:45:53 on ttyS0
Copyright (c) 2000-2004 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.
Software License Agreement
Cisco Anomaly Detector
Date: 2004/10/27 19:58:14
DETECTOR uptime is 3 weeks, 3 days, 17 hours, 53 minutes
System Serial Number: XXXXXXX
Cisco Systems Inc.
To obtain the software version that Cisco Guard and Cisco Traffic
Anomaly Detector are running through a secure web interface, open the URL
https://<IP address of your Guard or
Detector>/ in a web browser, log in, and then click on the
About link located on the top right section of the browser
No other Cisco products are currently known to create these specific
The Cisco Guard and Cisco Traffic Anomaly Detectors are Distributed
Denial of Service (DDoS) attack mitigation appliances that detect the presence
of a potential DDoS attack and divert attack traffic destined for the network
being monitored without affecting the flow of legitimate traffic.
Both the Cisco Guard and the Cisco Anomaly Traffic Detector appliances
can be managed via a virtual terminal (standard keyboard and monitor attached
directly to the appliance), a local serial console, remote SSH connections,
and/or remote secure web sessions. Most management and troubleshooting tasks
are performed through a CLI interface that is similar to that of most Cisco
products, but a special administrative account is provided so certain
management and troubleshooting tasks that are not covered by the standard CLI
can be performed. The administrative account username is root,
like the superuser in the Unix operating system.
This account has a default password that is the same in all
installations of the Cisco Guard and Cisco Traffic Anomaly Detector in all
versions prior to 3.1. This default password is made up of a combination of
letters, numbers, and punctuation per best security practices for passwords,
but Cisco recommends that this password be changed for extra security.
The vulnerability described here is documented in the Cisco Bug ID
customers only) for the Cisco Guard and in the Cisco Bug ID
customers only) for the Cisco Traffic Anomaly Detector.
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
Someone that is able to log into a Cisco Guard or Cisco Traffic
Anomaly Detector DDoS mitigation appliance using the root
administrative account has full control of the device, which includes the
ability to change configurations, divert traffic, and install software.
While workarounds that do not require a software upgrade exist, Cisco
has made available free software that addresses the vulnerability described in
Version 3.1 or later of the Cisco Guard and Cisco Traffic Anomaly
Detector software does not leave a default password for the administrative
root account after a fresh installation or after an upgrade
from previous versions. This is because in version 3.1 and later the
installation/upgrade procedure requires the user to choose a password for the
Note: the procedure to upgrade to version 3.1 can only be done through the
When considering software upgrades, please also consult
and any subsequent advisories to determine exposure and a complete upgrade
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") for assistance.
If affected customers are not able to upgrade the software, the
workarounds presented in the Workarounds
section can be employed to completely eliminate this vulnerability.
The vulnerability described in this document can be eliminated
completely by logging into the affected Cisco Guard and Cisco Traffic Anomaly
Detector DDoS mitigation appliances and changing the default password for the
administrative root account to a strong password chosen by the
To change the default password you need to run the
passwd command once you have logged in as the
root user. The following interaction shows and example of a
change password dialog in a Cisco Traffic Anomaly Detector that is performed
prompt$ ssh email@example.com
Last login: Tue Nov 23 15:48:13 on ttyS0
[root@DETECTOR root]# passwd
Changing password for user root.
New password: <new password typed in here>
Retype new password: <new password typed in here>
passwd: all authentication tokens updated successfully.
In order to perform this procedure you will need the default password.
To obtain this password customers must contact the Cisco TAC. Entitlement will
be checked so please have your product serial number available and give the URL
of this notice.
After changing the default password, the Cisco Guard and Traffic
Anomaly Detector will not accept root logins using the default
A reboot is not required for the new password to take effect, so
network operations will not be disrupted.
If affected customers do not wish to contact Cisco to obtain the
default password, it is possible to change the administrative account's
password by performing the password recovery procedure. This procedure is
documented at the following location:
As a security best practice, it is recommended that customers make use
of the access control feature that restricts connectivity to the SSH and
web-based management services to certain IP networks configured by the
administrator. Refer to the documentation for your Cisco Guard and Cisco
Traffic Anomaly Detector, specifically the permit
wbm and permit ssh commands, for
details on how to enable this feature. Having these access control mechanisms
in place may mitigate the vulnerability if it cannot be eliminated completely
by changing the default password as described above.
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 Cisco.com Downloads at
Do not contact either "firstname.lastname@example.org" or "email@example.com"
for software upgrades.
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 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 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.
+1 800 553 2447 (toll free from within North America)
+1 408 526 7209 (toll call from anywhere in the world)
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.
for additional TAC contact information, including special localized telephone
numbers and instructions and e-mail addresses for use in various
The Cisco PSIRT is not aware of any public announcements or malicious
use of the vulnerability described in this advisory.
This vulnerability was uncovered during internal code audit.
THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED ON AN "AS IS" BASIS AND DOES NOT IMPLY ANY KIND OF GUARANTEE OR WARRANTY, INCLUDING THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR USE. YOUR USE OF THE INFORMATION ON THE DOCUMENT OR MATERIALS LINKED FROM THE DOCUMENT IS AT YOUR OWN RISK. CISCO RESERVES THE RIGHT TO CHANGE OR UPDATE THIS DOCUMENT AT ANY TIME.
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 will be 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:
firstname.lastname@example.org (includes CERT/CC)
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.
Initial public release.