Feeds

Hackers turn Cisco phones into remote bugging devices

Confidential communications tapped by default

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Internet phones sold by Cisco Systems ship with a weakness that allows them to be turned into remote bugging devices that intercept confidential communications in a fashion similar to so many Hollywood spy movies, SC Magazine reported.

The publication quoted consultants from Australia-based HackLabs, who said customers had lost $20,000 a day from exploits, which also included attacks that forced the devices to make calls to premium phone numbers. The consultants said the underlying weaknesses were present in the default settings and could be fixed only by making changes to the phones' configuration settings.

“The book says to shut off web services,” HackLabs' Peter Wesley was quoted as saying, referring to the manual that shipped with the phones. “Who's going to read all that.”

SC Magazine said that a Cisco spokesman advised users to “apply the relevant recommendations in manuals to secure their systems. There was no explanation why phones are by default open to the attacks described in the article. A more sensible policy might be to ship the phones with the features disabled and allow customers who have a specific need for them to turn them on.

The magazine didn't name the specific make of phone, which is also susceptible to denial of service attacks. The article is here. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.