Cisco Patches Recently Disclosed “sudo” Vulnerability (CVE-2021-3156) in Multiple Products

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The “sudo” advisory is officially presented as “Sudo Privilege Escalation Vulnerability Affecting Cisco Products: January 2021” and affects pretty much every Cisco product that has a command line interface. It is a fix for the ubiquitous CVE-2021-3156 general sudo weakness.

According to the advisory, the vulnerability is due to “improper parsing of command line parameters that may result in a heap-based buffer overflow. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by accessing a Unix shell on an affected device and then invoking the sudoedit command with crafted parameters or by executing a binary exploit.”

All commands invoked after exploiting this vulnerability will have root privileges.

This weakness will also enable lower-privileged users with access to Cisco devices to elevate their privileges, meaning you technically are out of compliance with any role-based access control requirement (which is in virtually every modern cybersecurity compliance framework).

Rapid7 strongly advises organizations to patch this weakness as soon as possible to stop attackers and curious users from taking control of your network, as well as ensuring you are able to continue checking ✅ this particular compliance box. Even though we mentioned it at the top of the post, don’t forget to check out the rest of the Cisco security advisories to see whether you need to address weaknesses in any of your other Cisco devices.


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