Attackers are hunting for tampered Juniper firewalls

A 'honeypot' mimicking a Juniper firewall is seeing login attempts

An experiment by a cybersecurity research center shows attackers are trying to find Juniper firewalls that haven't been patched to remove unauthorized spying code.

The SANS Internet Storm Center set up a honeypot -- a term for a computer designed to lure attackers in order to study their techniques -- that mimicked a vulnerable Juniper firewall.

The honeypot was configured so that it appeared to run ScreenOS, the operating system of the affected Juniper firewalls, wrote Johannes Ullrich, CTO of the Internet Storm Center, on Monday in a blog post.

Juniper said last Thursday that it found during an internal audit two instances of unauthorized code in some versions of ScreenOS, which runs its NetScreen model of enterprise firewalls.

One problem was a hard-coded password, which could allow an attacker to log into a firewall using SSH or telnet in combination with a valid username.

The password was published on Sunday by the security firm Rapid7, which had been analyzing ScreenOS.

Juniper released patches for the password issue and another problem, which could allow VPN traffic to be monitored and decrypted.

Administrators were advised to patch immediately, and Juniper's revelation has received wide attention in the security community. But that still doesn't mean every company has patched, which puts them at risk.

Attackers often quickly try to take advantage of security vulnerabilities after patches are issued in hope of catching out organizations that are slow to react.

Ullrich wrote that the honeypot saw "numerous" login attempts over SSH using the hard-coded password. The attackers also tried various usernames, such as "root," "admin" and "netscreen."

"Our honeypot doesn't emulate ScreenOS beyond the login banner, so we do not know what the attackers are up to, but some of the attacks appear to be 'manual' in that we do see the attacker trying different commands," Ullrich wrote.

One of the IP addresses listed as the source for some of probes was flagged as belonging to the network security company Qualys, possibly attempting to estimate how many systems remain unpatched.

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

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?