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Second Cisco WLAN Security Threat Exposed

Cisco faced its second serious WLAN security threat this week when a network and security analyst released a tool that attacks the company's proprietary Lightweight Extensible Authentication Protocol (LEAP) wireless authentication system.

Joshua Wright, a senior network and security architect for Johnson & Wales University, reported in an discussion list that he reported the problem, which makes LEAP vulnerable to offline dictionary attacks, to Cisco. He said the company only issued a "subtle" warning to users.

"In an effort to give Cisco and their customers time to react to this flaw, I told Cisco I would not release my attack code for six months, starting in August 2003," Wright said in his posting. "I plan to keep this promise, although it may be moot since other exploit code has been posted to public forums that exploits the same challenge/response flaw."

After Cisco's inadequate response, Wright said he will release the tool, which is dubbed Asleap. He questioned Cisco for its slow response to what he called a widely-known problem.

"My concern when learning about the architecture of the LEAP protocol was that Cisco was continuing to push LEAP to customers as a way to gain market share over stronger wireless authentication protocols such as PEAP and TTLS," Wright said in his posting.

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