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Cisco routers have another high-risk vulnerability

(Image credit: Flickr / Prayitno)

Several carrier-grade routers from Cisco are said to contain a severe software vulnerability that is allegedly being exploited by Chinese state-sponsored attackers.

Earlier this week, the company warned its clients that a number of its routers, all of which are running IOS XR Software, are vulnerable to the high-severity CVE-2020-3118 flaw and urged customers to patch their devices immediately.

The patch has been available since February and the full list of affected devices can be found here (opens in new tab).

The flaw can be exploited by sending a malicious Cisco Discovery Protocol packet to the affected devices, Bleeping Computer (opens in new tab) explained. Attackers that manage to successfully exploit the flaw could trigger a stack overflow, allowing for arbitrary code execution with admin privileges.

On the bright side, however, the flaw can only be exploited by unauthenticated adjacent attackers, in the same broadcast domain as the vulnerable device.

Soon after Cisco’s announcement, the US National Security Agency (NSA) cited the same vulnerability in a list of flaws abused by Chinese state-sponsored cyberattack groups.

“We hear loud and clear that it can be hard to prioritize patching and mitigation efforts,” said NSA Cybersecurity Director Anne Neuberger. 

“We hope that by highlighting the vulnerabilities that China is actively using to compromise systems, cybersecurity professionals will gain actionable information to prioritize efforts and secure their systems.”

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.