Cisco warns of unpatched exploit in a family of data centre switches

Cisco warns of unpatched exploit in a family of data centre switches

Cisco’s Nexus 9000 series switches in ACI mode have a flaw that can allow attackers to read and modify encrypted traffic.

Credit: Cisco

A high-severity flaw in Cisco’s data centre switching gear could allow threat actors to read and modify encrypted traffic, according to the company.

On Wednesday, Cisco issued a security advisory for the vulnerability in the application-centric infrastructure (ACI) multisite CloudSec feature within a family of its data centre switches.

“This vulnerability is due to an issue with the implementation of the ciphers that are used by the CloudSec encryption feature on affected switches,” the company said in the advisory.

The vulnerability, dubbed CVE-2023-20185, has been assigned a base CVSS score of 7.4.

Nexus 9000 series is affected by the vulnerability

This vulnerability impacts Cisco Nexus 9000 Series Fabric Switches operating in ACI mode with versions 14.0 and onward. It specifically affects switches within a multisite setup and having the CloudSec encryption feature activated.

The Cisco Nexus 9000 series is a family of modular and fixed-form data centre switches, designed to meet diverse networking needs in modern data centres. The series runs on two different operating systems — Cisco NX-OS and Cisco ACI.

“Cisco has confirmed that this vulnerability does not affect Cisco Nexus 9000 Series Switches in standalone NX-OS mode,” the advisory added.

While Cisco NX-OS switches are more traditional and provide a comprehensive set of networking features, the switches running Cisco ACI are part of Cisco’s software-defined networking (SDN) solution and offer centralised policy-based automation.

No fixes yet

Cisco has yet to release software updates to address the vulnerability and there are no current workarounds either, the company said.

“Customers who are currently using the Cisco ACI Multi-Site CloudSec encryption feature for the Cisco Nexus 9332C and Nexus 9364C Switches and the Cisco Nexus N9K-X9736C-FX Line Card are advised to disable it and to contact their support organisation to evaluate alternative options,” the advisory added. Cisco also detailed in the advisory the steps to determine the status of the CloudSec feature on these devices.

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