Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

11/7/2005
06:18 PM
50%
50%

Conspiracy Theory: Michael Lynn Negotiates Corner Office, Reserved Parking Space With Juniper

Anyone predicting that Michael Lynn did severe damage to his career might want to retract those statements now that the former ISS researcher and current Cisco nemesis has landed at Juniper Networks. Although it's unclear what Lynn's role is or how long he's been with Cisco's biggest rival, I'm sure that conspiracy theorists will have a field day with this one. Lynn, you'll remember if you weren't on Mars this summer, has become infamo

Anyone predicting that Michael Lynn did severe damage to his career might want to retract those statements now that the former ISS researcher and current Cisco nemesis has landed at Juniper Networks. Although it's unclear what Lynn's role is or how long he's been with Cisco's biggest rival, I'm sure that conspiracy theorists will have a field day with this one. Lynn, you'll remember if you weren't on Mars this summer, has become infamous for a Black Hat presentation during which he proved what most savvy network administrators already suspected: Cisco's IOS had a serious flaw that could let hackers not just take down a Cisco switch or router but also hijack networking equipment and execute code. Lynn's slideshow heroics became the centerpiece of this week's InformationWeek cover story, which quickly took on a life of its own as I dug in.For the record, I e-mailed Michael Lynn a couple of times during the reporting of my Cisco network security story. (Michael, if you're reading this...call me.) Needless to say, he either declined my invitation to go on the record, or his legal troubles with Cisco and ISS prevented him from commenting. Lynn's lawyer, Jennifer Granick, was nice enough to fill me in on the status of Lynn's case and the implications of Lynn's actions on network security.

No need to look far to see the impact of Lynn's presentation. Cisco last week issued a security alert and patch for a critical "heap-overflow" vulnerability in its Internetwork Operating System (IOS) that could have allowed hackers to crash or take control of the routers and switches that form the backbone of the Internet and enterprise networks. Widespread awareness of this potential exploit stems from the July Black Hat conference, where Lynn demonstrated that vulnerabilities to a certain version of IOS running in IPv6 environments could be exploited to take over--rather than simply shut down--Cisco routers and switches.

What really gets me though is that I actually sat down with Juniper at InformationWeek's offices while I was researching my story. We made the usual small talk about the mild October weather, chatted about the company's upcoming Infranet Controller appliances and Infranet Agent software, and discussed Cisco's approach to loading IOS with security features while Juniper offloads much of its perimeter security responsibilities to network appliances. If only I hadn't given up on building that time machine when I was in junior high school! Then I would have known to drop a verbal WMD on them by asking: "So, I hear you're interviewing Michael Lynn for a position at Juniper. Will he be getting a company car?" Of course, I would also have used my new powers to keep from drafting Pittsburgh's Deuce Staley as the starting running back for my fantasy football team. Alas.

Let's not lose sight of what's really important: my team might still make the playoffs and the mind of Michael Lynn will be put to good use by the only company with a legitimate shot at challenging Cisco for networking equipment supremacy. After all of the time and effort Cisco spent trying to shut down Lynn's Black Hat presentation, you couldn't have written a more compelling epilogue. But let's also give credit to Cisco. The company has responded to this summer's wakeup call and fixed the vulnerabilities in question.

The issue of vulnerability disclosure is one I expect to address in the coming months, so please weigh in with your thoughts. Please also take a minute to respond with your perspective on Juniper's hiring of Lynn. Was this a shrewd move by a vendor on its way up in the networking world, or was it a cheap shot at Cisco, given all of the time Lynn spent deconstructing and re-engineering IOS code with Cisco's blessing?

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
News
US Formally Attributes SolarWinds Attack to Russian Intelligence Agency
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  4/15/2021
News
Dependency Problems Increase for Open Source Components
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  4/14/2021
News
FBI Operation Remotely Removes Web Shells From Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/14/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-3035
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-20
An unsafe deserialization vulnerability in Bridgecrew Checkov by Prisma Cloud allows arbitrary code execution when processing a malicious terraform file. This issue impacts Checkov 2.0 versions earlier than Checkov 2.0.26. Checkov 1.0 versions are not impacted.
CVE-2021-3036
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-20
An information exposure through log file vulnerability exists in Palo Alto Networks PAN-OS software where secrets in PAN-OS XML API requests are logged in cleartext to the web server logs when the API is used incorrectly. This vulnerability applies only to PAN-OS appliances that are configured to us...
CVE-2021-3037
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-20
An information exposure through log file vulnerability exists in Palo Alto Networks PAN-OS software where the connection details for a scheduled configuration export are logged in system logs. Logged information includes the cleartext username, password, and IP address used to export the PAN-OS conf...
CVE-2021-3038
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-20
A denial-of-service (DoS) vulnerability in Palo Alto Networks GlobalProtect app on Windows systems allows a limited Windows user to send specifically-crafted input to the GlobalProtect app that results in a Windows blue screen of death (BSOD) error. This issue impacts: GlobalProtect app 5.1 versions...
CVE-2021-3506
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-19
An out-of-bounds (OOB) memory access flaw was found in fs/f2fs/node.c in the f2fs module in the Linux kernel in versions before 5.12.0-rc4. A bounds check failure allows a local attacker to gain access to out-of-bounds memory leading to a system crash or a leak of internal kernel information. The hi...