July 18, 2013, 9:59 AM — Cisco Systems released a security patch for its Unified Communications Manager (Unified CM) enterprise telephony product in order to mitigate an attack that could allow hackers to take full control of the systems. The company also patched denial-of-service vulnerabilities in its Intrusion Prevention System software.
The Cisco Unified CM is a call processing component that extends enterprise telephony features and functions to IP phones, media processing devices, VoIP gateways, and multimedia applications, according to Cisco.
At the beginning of June, researchers from a French security consultancy firm called Lexfo publicly demonstrated an attack that chained together multiple "blind" SQL injection, command injection and privilege escalation vulnerabilities in order to compromise a Cisco Unified CM server.
The demonstration also revealed that all versions of Cisco Unified CM use a static hard-coded encryption key to encrypt sensitive data stored in the server's database, including user credentials.
"The initial blind SQL injection allows an unauthenticated, remote attacker to use the hard-coded encryption key to obtain and decrypt a local user account. This allows for a subsequent, authenticated blind SQL injection," Cisco said Wednesday in a security advisory.
"Successful exploitation of the command injection and privilege escalation vulnerabilities could allow an authenticated, remote attacker to execute arbitrary commands on the underlying operating system with elevated privileges," the company said.
Cisco has released a security patch in the form of a Cisco Options Package (COP) called "cmterm-CSCuh01051-2.cop.sgn" that addresses some of the vulnerabilities used in the attack, including the one allowing the initial blind SQL injection.
Customers can download the file from Cisco's website and install it as a temporary solution until the company releases new and patched versions of the Unified CM software.
The COP file mitigates the initial attack vector and reduces the documented attack surface, Cisco said. However, some other vulnerabilities used in the attack remain unpatched.
The remaining vulnerabilities are still being investigated and no workarounds are available for them yet, the company said.
Versions 7.1.x, 8.5.x, 8.6.x, 9.0.x and 9.1.x of the Cisco Unified CM are affected by the publicly demonstrated attack. Version 8.0 is also affected, but is no longer supported. Customers using this version are advised to contact Cisco for assistance in upgrading to a supported version.