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Cisco yesterday urged users of a particular version of its core router operating system to upgrade following the discovery of a potential serious password vulnerability.

Anyone who can obtain command line access to an affected switch can bypass password authentication and change network configurations without needing to know the relevant "enable" password, Cisco advises.

"If local user authentication is enabled, a valid username can be used to gain access to the switch without a valid password. This same local user could then enter enable without a valid password," Cisco explains.

The problem affects users of Cisco Catalyst 4000, 6000, and 6500 LAN switches running Catalyst OS software version 7.5(1) only. No other releases of Cisco Catalyst OS software are affected by this vulnerability. Catalyst hardware running Cisco IOS is similarly unaffected by the vulnerability.

The networking giant says the vuln is yet to be maliciously exploited, to the best of its knowledge.

Cisco advises affected users to upgrade to version 7.6(1) of its Cat OS software in order to plug up the security loophole. Cisco is making this software available as a free upgrade.

Further details on the problem, and how to obtain fixed version of the software, are explained in Cisco's advisory here. ®

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