Critical Cisco Switch Vulnerabilities Allow Remote Exploitation

The web-based user interface of some Cisco Small Business Series Switches contains multiple vulnerabilities, according to a warning from Cisco.

Cisco lists four critical remote code execution flaws with public exploit code. With CVSS base scores of 9.8/10, all four security issues obtained the highest severity ratings possible.

On compromised devices, successful exploitation enables unauthenticated attackers to run arbitrary code with root access.

“Multiple vulnerabilities in the web-based user interface of certain Cisco Small Business Series Switches could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to cause a denial of service (DoS) condition or execute arbitrary code with root privileges on an affected device”, Cisco.

The flaws tracked as CVE-2023-20159, CVE-2023-20160, CVE-2023-20161, and CVE-2023-20189 are due to improper validation of requests made to the targeted switches’ web interfaces.

Particularly, the web-based user interface might be used by an attacker to send a specially crafted request and take advantage of this vulnerability.

“The vulnerabilities are not dependent on one another. The exploitation of one of the vulnerabilities is not required to exploit another vulnerability,” Cisco.

“In addition, a software release that is affected by one of the vulnerabilities may not be affected by the other vulnerabilities.”

Vulnerable Products

The following Cisco Small Business Switches are affected:

  • 250 Series Smart Switches
  • 350 Series Managed Switches
  • 350X Series Stackable Managed Switches
  • 550X Series Stackable Managed Switches
  • Business 250 Series Smart Switches
  • Business 350 Series Managed Switches
  • Small Business 200 Series Smart Switches
  • Small Business 300 Series Managed Switches
  • Small Business 500 Series Stackable Managed Switches

The following Cisco products are not impacted by these vulnerabilities:

  • 220 Series Smart Switches
  • Business 220 Series Smart Switches

Fixed Software Release

250 Series Smart Switches, 350 Series Managed Switches, 350X Series Stackable Managed Switches, and 550X Series Stackable Managed Switches

Business 250 Series Smart Switches and Business 350 Series Managed Switches

Cisco claims that because the 200, 300, and 500 Series Small Business Switches have already begun the end-of-life process, the software for these devices won’t be patched.

A proof-of-concept attack code is available for these security issues, according to the Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT), which might result in active exploitation if motivated threat actors develop their own.

Cisco advised customers to update to the relevant patched software release as noted.

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