Feeds

Hackers turn Cisco phones into remote bugging devices

Confidential communications tapped by default

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.