Last updated at Thu, 04 Feb 2021 21:04:49 GMT

While Punxsutawney Phil may have said we only have six more weeks of winter, the need to patch software and hardware weaknesses will, unfortunately, never end.

Cisco has released security updates to address vulnerabilities in most of their product portfolio, some of which may be exploited to gain full system/device control on certain devices, and one fixes the recently disclosed sudo input validation vulnerability. We discuss this vulnerability below, but there are many more lower-severity, or “valid administrator credentials-required” bugs on the Cisco Security Advisories page that all organizations who use Cisco products should review.

Getting back to RBAC

The “sudo” advisory is officially presented as “Sudo Privilege Escalation Vulnerability Affecting Cisco Products: January 2021” and affects pretty much every Cisco product that has a command line interface. It is a fix for the ubiquitous CVE-2021-3156 general sudo weakness.

According to the advisory, the vulnerability is due to “improper parsing of command line parameters that may result in a heap-based buffer overflow. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by accessing a Unix shell on an affected device and then invoking the sudoedit command with crafted parameters or by executing a binary exploit.”

All commands invoked after exploiting this vulnerability will have root privileges.

This weakness will also enable lower-privileged users with access to Cisco devices to elevate their privileges, meaning you technically are out of compliance with any role-based access control requirement (which is in virtually every modern cybersecurity compliance framework).

Rapid7 strongly advises organizations to patch this weakness as soon as possible to stop attackers and curious users from taking control of your network, as well as ensuring you are able to continue checking ✅ this particular compliance box. Even though we mentioned it at the top of the post, don’t forget to check out the rest of the Cisco security advisories to see whether you need to address weaknesses in any of your other Cisco devices.


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