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Security breach impacted Cisco VIRL-PE infrastructure

Cisco discloses security breach that impacted VIRL-PE infrastructure, threat actors exploited SaltStack vulnerabilities to hack six company servers. C

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Cisco discloses security breach that impacted VIRL-PE infrastructure, threat actors exploited SaltStack vulnerabilities to hack six company servers.

Cisco has disclosed a security incident that impacted part of its VIRL-PE infrastructure, threat actors exploited vulnerabilities in the SaltStack software package to breach six company servers.

These issues affect the following Cisco products running a vulnerable software release:

  • Cisco Modeling Labs Corporate Edition (CML)
  • Cisco Virtual Internet Routing Lab Personal Edition (VIRL-PE)

Cisco’s advisory states that the SaltStack software package is bundled with some Cisco products, hackers exploited SaltStack issues to compromise six company servers:

  • us-1.virl.info
  • us-2.virl.info
  • us-3.virl.info
  • us-4.virl.info
  • vsm-us-1.virl.info
  • vsm-us-2.virl.info

“Cisco infrastructure maintains the salt-master servers that are used with Cisco VIRL-PE. Those servers were upgraded on May 7, 2020. Cisco identified that the Cisco maintained salt-master servers that are servicing Cisco VIRL-PE releases 1.2 and 1.3 were compromised. The servers were remediated on May 7, 2020.” reads the advisory.

The six servers are part of the backend infrastructure for VIRL-PE (Internet Routing Lab Personal Edition), a service that allows Cisco users to model and simulate their virtual network environment.

Cisco has it fixed and remediated all breached VIRL-PE servers on May 7, when it upgraded them by applying the patches for the SaltStack software.

Cisco also confirmed that the Cisco Modeling Labs Corporate Edition (CML), a network modeling tool, is affected by the issues.

At the end of April, researchers from F-Secure disclosed a number of vulnerabilities in the “Salt” framework, including two issues that could be exploited by attackers to take over Salt installations.

The two flaws, tracked as CVE-2020-11651 and CVE-2020-11652, are a directory traversal issue and an authentication bypass vulnerability respectively. Chaining the issue, an attacker could bypass authentication and run arbitrary code on Salt master servers exposed online.

Immediately after the public disclosure of the issues. administrators of Salt servers started reporting attacks exploiting the above vulnerabilities last week, threat actors used them to deliver backdoors and miners.

Shortly after the disclosure of the flaws, threat actors exploited them in several attacks against organizations, including mobile operating system vendor LineageOS, Digicert CA, blogging platform Ghost, cloud software provider Xen Orchestra, and search provider Algolia.

Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Cisco VIRL-PE infrastructure, hacking)

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