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Cisco released 16 security advisories yesterday, including alerts for three vulnerabilities rated "Critical" and which received a maximum of 10 out of 10 on the CVSSv3 severity score.

The three vulnerabilities include a backdoor account and two bypasses of the authentication system for Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA) Center.

The Cisco DNA Center is a piece of software that's aimed at enterprise clients and which provides a central system for designing and deploying device configurations (aka provisioning) across a large network.

This is, arguably, a pretty complex piece of software, and according to Cisco, a recent internal audit has yielded some pretty bad results.

CVE-2018-0222

The first of these flaws, and probably the easiest to exploit, is CVE-2018-0222. Cisco describes this as an "undocumented, static user credentials for the default administrative account," which is just a longer way of spelling backdoor account.

The company did not reveal the account's default username and password but said it grants an attacker root privileges on targeted systems.

Users are advised to apply software patches to remove the account as soon as possible, as there are no known workarounds that can disable it until updates can be installed.

CVE-2018-0268

The second vulnerability is CVE-2018-0268, which is an authentication bypass for a Kubernetes container management subsystem embedded inside Cisco's DNA Center.

"An attacker who has the ability to access the Kubernetes service port could execute commands with elevated privileges within provisioned containers," Cisco said. "A successful exploit could result in a complete compromise of affected containers."

Like with the previous flaw, there are no workarounds and users must update their DNA Center to protect themselves.

CVE-2018-0271

Last but not least there's CVE-2018-0271, an authentication bypass in the DNA Center's API gateway.

"The vulnerability is due to a failure to normalize URLs prior to servicing requests," Cisco explained. "An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by submitting a crafted URL designed to exploit the issue. A successful exploit could allow the attacker to gain unauthenticated access to critical services, resulting in elevated privileges in DNA Center."

Cisco fixed all three issues in DNA Center v1.1.3.

Let's not criticize Cisco

The company discovered these flaws following as part of its massive series of internal audits it started back in December 2015.

At the time, security researchers found a backdoor account in Juniper software that could decrypt VPN traffic, and Cisco decided to hunt and root out any similar backdoors before attackers found them first.

The company discovered many backdoors and hardcoded accounts in the past two years as part of internal audits and has received some pretty unfair criticism for its efforts.

The most recent backdoors Cisco discovered was in March, when the company's engineers discovered two —one in Cisco's Prime Collaboration Provisioning (PCP) platform, and one in the IOS XE operating system.

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