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Exploit available for root-access vulnerability in F5 Networks products

Hackers can use a leaked SSH key to obtain root access on many F5 networking appliances

An exploit for a recently patched vulnerability that allows potential attackers to obtain administrative access on network appliances from hardware vendor F5 Networks was added to the Metasploit penetration testing framework on Tuesday.

In a security advisory published on June 6, F5 Networks advised customers that attackers could exploit a SSH configuration error to obtain root access on many of its products.

The vulnerable platforms are VIPRION B2100, B4100, B4200; Enterprise Manager 3000, 4000; BIG-IP 520, 540, 1000, 2000, 2400, 5000, 5100, 1600, 3600, 3900, 6900, 8900, 8950, 11000, 11050; and BIG-IP Virtual Edition.

The vulnerability is the result of a SSH private key present in many F5 appliances being publicly available. This key allows unauthorized users to bypass authentication and login as root on those devices, Florent Daigniere, the security researcher who discovered the issue, said in a separate advisory.

Users of the affected products should install the software updates and hotfixes made available by F5 as soon as possible, especially since exploit code for this vulnerability is now publicly available.

F5 also released a SSH reconfiguration tool that can be used by customers that cannot immediately deploy the security patches, to prevent the compromised SSH key from working. Instructions on how to use this tool, as well as apply other mitigation techniques, are described in F5's advisory.

The vulnerability is identified as CVE-2012-1493 and was rated as highly critical by security firm Secunia because it can result in a full system compromise and can be attacked remotely.


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