Cisco downplays WLAN vulnerability

AirMagnet, the security company that discovered the issue, said the hole could still create problems

Cisco Systems downplayed a vulnerability in some of its wireless access points, reporting Tuesday that there is no risk of data loss or interception.

But AirMagnet, the wireless network security vendor that discovered the issue, said the hole could still lead to problems.

The vulnerability is based in a feature that makes it easy for Cisco access points to associate with a controller in the network. Existing APs broadcast information about the nearby network controller they communicate with.

When an enterprise hangs a new AP, that AP listens to information broadcast by other APs and knows which controller to connect to.

AirMagnet worries that a person could "skyjack" a new AP by getting the AP to connect to a controller outside of the enterprise.

Enterprises can avoid that scenario by configuring their access points with a preferred controller list, Cisco said. That bypasses the over-the-air provisioning process that could result in an AP connecting to an outside controller.

Also, Cisco said that even if an AP did connect to an unauthorized controller, workers would then be unable to connect to that AP. That would prevent a hacker from intercepting their communication.

However, once an AP is connected to an unauthorized controller, a hacker might then be able to access the company's entire network, said Wade Williamson, director of product management at AirMagnet.

"Someone being able to drill into your wired network is much more concerning than users not being able to check e-mail," he said.

Cisco did not immediately respond to a question about the potential of that scenario.

Cisco rates the vulnerability as unlikely to be used. It notes that in order to exploit the hole, an attacker would have to be able to deploy a Cisco controller within radio range of a newly installed AP.

The vulnerability affects Cisco Lightweight Access Point 1100 and 1200 series.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags wirelessciscoWLANexploits and vulnerabilities

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?