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US govt warns on VPN security bug in Cisco, Palo Alto, F5, Pulse software

US govt warns on VPN security bug in Cisco, Palo Alto, F5, Pulse software

VPN packages from Cisco, Palo Alto, F5 and Pusle may improperly secure tokens and cookies

The Department of Homeland Security has issued a warning that some VPN packages from Cisco, Palo Alto, F5 and Pusle may improperly secure tokens and cookies, allowing nefarious actors an opening to invade and take control over an end user’s system. 

The DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) warning comes on the heels of a notice from Carnegie Mellon's CERT that multiple VPN applications store the authentication and/or session cookies insecurely in memory and/or log files.

“If an attacker has persistent access to a VPN user's endpoint or exfiltrates the cookie using other methods, they can replay the session and bypass other authentication methods,” CERT wrote. “An attacker would then have access to the same applications that the user does through their VPN session.”

According to the CERT warning, the following products and versions store the cookie insecurely in log files:

  • Palo Alto Networks GlobalProtect Agent 4.1.0 for Windows and GlobalProtect Agent 4.1.10 and earlier for macOS0 (CVE-2019-1573)
  • Pulse Secure Connect Secure prior to 8.1R14, 8.2, 8.3R6, and 9.0R2.

The following products and versions store the cookie insecurely in memory:

  • Palo Alto Networks GlobalProtect Agent 4.1.0 for Windows and GlobalProtect Agent 4.1.10 and earlier for macOS0.
  • Pulse Secure Connect Secure prior to 8.1R14, 8.2, 8.3R6, and 9.0R2.
  • Cisco AnyConnect 4.7.x and prior.

CERT says that Palo Alto Networks GlobalProtect version 4.1.1 patches this vulnerability.

In the CERT warning F5 stated it has been aware of the insecure memory storage since 2013 and has not yet been patched. More information can be found here. F5 also stated it has been aware of the insecure log storage since 2017 and fixed it in version 12.1.3 and 13.1.0 and onwards. More information can be found here.

CERT said it is unaware of any patches at the time of publishing for Cisco AnyConnect and Pulse Secure Connect Secure.

CERT credited the National Defense ISAC Remote Access Working Group for reporting the vulnerability.


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