Advisory ID: cisco-sa-20061012-wla
For Public Release 2006 October 12 16:00 UTC (GMT)
The Cisco Wireless Location Appliance software contains a default
password for the 'root' administrative account. A user who logs in using this
username has complete control of the device.
This password is the same in all installations of the product prior to
version 188.8.131.52 when shipped as part of a new product purchase. This
vulnerability still exists on upgraded installations unless explicit steps have
been taken to change the password after the initial installation of the
There are workarounds available for this vulnerability.
This advisory is available at
This section provides details on affected products.
This vulnerability affects Cisco 2700 Series Wireless Location
Appliances shipped with versions prior to 184.108.40.206.
The version of software on the Wireless Location Appliance can be
determined in one of three ways.
From the command line the version can be determined with the
getserverinfo command. The version is contained in
the first five lines of output which will look similar to the following output
from a device running version 220.127.116.11:
Product name: Cisco Wireless Location Appliance
Another way to get the version from the command line is to view the
file /opt/locserver/conf/version.txt. For a WLA running version 18.104.22.168, the
contents of that file should be similar to:
[root@locserv /]# cat /opt/locserver/conf/version.txt
#Tue Jan 31 11:08:35 PST 2006
product.name=Cisco Wireless Location Appliance
The version is simply obtained by assembling the numbers beginning
with the "major.number" followed by "minor.number", "build.number" and
"patch.number" in that order with each number separated by a period.
Lastly, the version may be obtained via the web interface on a Cisco
Wireless Control System (WCS) for any Location Appliances which are configured
on it. Browsing to the "Locations" tab and clicking on "Location Servers" in
the resulting menu will give a list of Location Appliances with their
corresponding versions under the "Versions" column.
No other Cisco products are currently known to be affected by these
The Cisco Wireless Location Appliance (WLA) uses RF fingerprinting
technology to simultaneously track 802.11 wireless devices from directly within
a WLAN infrastructure. By design, the Cisco Wireless Location Appliance is
directly integrated into the WLAN infrastructure using Cisco wireless LAN
controllers and Cisco Aironet lightweight access points to track the physical
location of wireless devices.
The Cisco Wireless Location Appliance 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. A special administrative account is provided so that certain
management, troubleshooting tasks, and basic initial setup can be performed.
The default username for administrator login is "root" (without the
quotes), and the default password is "password" (without the quotes). Both the
username and password are case sensitive.
This issue has been addressed in fixed versions of software by
prompting the user to change the password on the root account during the
appliance setup installation. This only applies to new WLA devices shipped
initially with a non-vulnerable version of software for the initial
installation. Previous versions of software which have been upgraded will not
prompt the user to change the password for the root user during the upgrade.
This issue is documented in Cisco Bug ID
registered customers only)
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 the vulnerability may result in a remote
attacker gaining full administrative control of the device.
This vulnerability is fixed in versions
and later when shipped on new devices for initial installation of the
Cisco Wireless Location Appliance software.
When considering software upgrades, 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") or your contracted maintenance provider for
The vulnerability described in this document can be eliminated by
logging in to the affected WLA and changing the default password for the
administrative root account to a strong password chosen by the user.
If the password has not previously been changed, the default username
for the administrator login is "root" (without the quotes), and the default
password is "password" (without the quotes). Both the username and password are
case sensitive. After successfully logging in to the WLA as root, the default
password may be changed by running the passwd
A reboot is not required for the new password to take effect, so
network operations will not be disrupted.
Cisco will make free software available to address this vulnerability
for affected customers. This advisory will be updated as fixed software becomes
available. 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
http://www.cisco.com/public/sw-license-agreement.html, 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 aware of several instances in which Cisco Wireless
Location Appliances have been compromised via the default root password.
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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.
Initial public release.