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Cisco warns of major vulnerabilities in TelePresence kit

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Cisco slipped out four security advisories on Friday warning of serious vulnerabilities in its high-end videoconferencing system – or TelePresence, as it prefers to call it.

The flaws affect versions of Cisco TelePresence Manager, Recording Server, Immersive Endpoint System, and Multipoint Switch, and would variously allow an attacker to crash calls using malformed IP packets in a DDoS attack, perform a code injection attack via the web interface, and/or remote code execution and privilege escalation via the Cisco Discovery Protocol.

Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team said that there was no evidence that any of these vulnerabilities were being used in the wild as yet. They were uncovered after laboratory testing of the software and during normal software security audits.

Videoconferencing is one of those "always the bridesmaid, never the bride" technologies, and your Reg reporter remembers getting press releases in 1994 talking about how ISDN would make that long-ago time the year that videoconferencing would take off. We're still waiting, but Cisco has had more success than most with its TelePresence systems, albeit only on the corporate stage.

Cisco did launch a home videoconferencing system, bizarrely dubbed Ūmi, in 2010, but merged it into the business offering last year. Instead, the company is concentrating on videoconferencing using dedicated high-bandwidth connections and advanced cameras to provide corporates with a way to trim those expensive overseas trips.

From an IT manager's perspective, these flaws need to be fixed fast, since no one on a corporate board likes the idea of their expensive videoconferencing suite turning into a spying system. Cisco has posted patches and is urging all users to update immediately. ®

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