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5/27/2010
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Cisco Warns Of Security Flaws In Building Management System

Multiple vulnerabilities could enable attackers to access power, HVAC, and physical security systems

Cisco Systems yesterday revealed details of multiple security vulnerabilities in a device that many companies use to centrally control building power, ventilation, lighting, and security systems remotely via the data center.

In a security advisory issued Wednesday, Cisco warned users of its Network Building Mediator products to patch the vulnerabilities, which could allow access to obtain administrative passwords and read system configuration files, making it possible for hackers to take control of a building's most critical control systems.

"Successful exploitation of any of these vulnerabilities could result in a malicious user taking complete control over an affected device," the advisory states. The flaws also have been found in older products from Richards-Zeta, the company that originally designed the system, which was acquired by Cisco.

One flaw could enable low-level employees to gain full control of the device by accessing default administrative accounts, Cisco says. Other bugs might allow insiders to intercept traffic as it travels between an administrator and the Building Mediator.

The device, which collects data in a variety of formats and presents it on a single screen, is designed to automate a multitude of facilities management tasks. However, this consolidation could also turn the system into a single point of attack, experts say.

Cisco has released free software updates that address the vulnerabilities. Workarounds that mitigate some of the listed vulnerabilities are also available.

The bugs were discovered during internal testing, and Cisco does not know of any actual expoits yet, the advisory says.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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