Feds issue confusing warning about Asterisk

The FBI has left users of Asterisk open source IP PBX products guessing whether the version they are using is vulnerable to a mysterious "new technique" that can be exploited by vishers - people who use VoIP to spoof caller ID numbers so victims will believe they are talking to legitimate businesses and give up valuable personal information.

The bureau's Internet Crimes Complaint Center (IC3) has issued a warning that says versions of Asterisk software are vulnerable, but doesn't say which ones. It recommends upgrading to a version with the vulnerability fixed, but doesn't specify the vulnerability and which versions are safe.

The IC3 intelligence note also doesn't say where it got its information about the vulnerability and exploit, and it doesn't describe what is new about the vishing technique it warms against.

An FBI spokesman acknowledged the shortcomings in the warning and said he would find out more.

In response, the director of Asterisk's open source community says that Digium, the business that sells a commercial version and support for Asterisk, is confused by the warning.

The IC3 note "has left us guessing as to what the exact issue is that they reference and how Asterisk is involved", John Todd writes in his blog on the Digium site.

The IC3 warning states that hackers were able to use open source PBX software Asterisk to carry out vishing attacks by exploiting a security vulnerability in Asterisk software. The warning does not specify what vulnerability they are talking about, who exploited the vulnerability, or where the information about the exploit came from.

The IC3 intelligence note states it "has received information concerning a new technique used to conduct vishing attacks" that take advantage of the vulnerability. The warning doesn't describe how the vishing technique works.

The warning doesn't say which versions of Asterisk are free of the vulnerability. In part, the note says, "early versions of the Asterisk software are known to have a vulnerability", without specifying the vulnerability.

"To prevent further loss of consumers' [personally identifiable information] and to reduce the spread of this new technique, it is imperative businesses, using Asterisk, upgrade their software to a version that has had the vulnerability fixed." The warning doesn't say what version that is.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags digiumasteriskfbi

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Tim Greene

Network World
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?