CERT: Flaws in SNMP could threaten 'Net

Flaws in how SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) is implemented in a raft of products could allow attackers to stage denial of service attacks, take over systems and threaten the Internet, according to a new alert from the federally funded computer security body CERT/CC (Computer Emergency Response Team/Coordination Center).

Information about the vulnerabilities has already begun to surface in attacker communities, CERT/CC said, and administrators should act quickly to apply available patches.

SNMP is a protocol used by many vendors to enable network and systems administrators to remotely monitor and configure any number of network devices, including routers, switches and operating systems, CERT/CC said.

The vulnerabilities were first discovered by the Secure Programming Group of Finland's Oulu University, according to CERT/CC. The team at Oulu found multiple vulnerabilties in the way SNMP version one is implemented in many vendors' products. The vulnerabilities involve the way in which SNMP implementations handle warning and error messages, along with requests, CERT/CC said.

The flaws in the products are particularly serious because "many of the affected products provide key services to the Internet infrastructure. Large-scale outages of these devices could disable significant portions of the global network," CERT/CC said in its alert.

Vendors whose products are affected include Avaya, 3Com, Caldera Systems, Cisco Systems, Compaq Computer, Computer Associates International, Hewlett-Packard, Juniper Networks, Lotus Software Group, Lucent Technologies, Microsoft, Netscape Communications, Nokia, Novell, Silicon Graphics and Sun Microsystems. Different vendors have responded to the vulnerabilties in different ways, with many of them already offering patches, though some have not, according to the alert.

Though some vendors have issued fixes, the challenge to network administrators may still be great, according to CERT/CC's alert. Administrators will need to apply patches and make changes to many different kinds of devices throughout their networks, changes which may not be easy to make, the organization said.

The team from Oulu University has materials to test products for the flaw at http://www.ee.oulu.fi/research/ouspg/protos/testing/c06/snmpv1/0100.html/. A list of affected vendors and the progress of their fixes is available at http://www.cert.org/advisories/CA-2002-03.html#vendors/.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sam Costello

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?