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Vulnerability Puts Cisco, Users on Their Toes

All drama aside, just how bad are these vulnerabilities?

Lynn showed how an attacker might use the router's IPv6 feature to take complete control of the router and redirect packets. The vulnerability in the code, which had already been patched, was thought to only allow a DoS (denial of service) attack at worst.

Lynn noted that the attack would require multiple variations for different Cisco hardware, making it a poor candidate for a worm. Cisco's IOS is more difficult to crack than a multipurpose OS, he said, but as Cisco begins to standardize IOS across hardware platforms, it could become more vulnerable.

Bottom line, all programmable IP devices can be exploited. So protect them when possible--and patch them with vigilance.