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Category:   Device (VoIP/Phone/FAX)  >   Cisco IP Phones Vendors:   Cisco
Cisco IP Video Phone E20 Default Account Lets Remote Users Obtain Root Access
SecurityTracker Alert ID:  1026539
SecurityTracker URL:
CVE Reference:   CVE-2011-4659   (Links to External Site)
Date:  Jan 18 2012
Impact:   Root access via network
Fix Available:  Yes  Vendor Confirmed:  Yes  
Version(s): E20 Phone; TelePresence Software version TE 4.1.0
Description:   A vulnerability was reported in Cisco IP Video Phone E20. A remote user can obtain root access on the target system.

When a Cisco IP Video Phone E20 device is upgraded to TelePresence Software version TE 4.1.0, a default root account may be created. A remote user can use the account to access the system via SSH with root privileges.

Only Cisco IP Video Phone E20 devices that have been upgraded to TE 4.1.0 are affected.

Cisco has assigned Cisco bug ID CSCtw69889 to this vulnerability.

Impact:   A remote user can obtain root access on the target system.
Solution:   The vendor has issued a fix (TE 4.1.1).

The vendor's advisory is available at:

Vendor URL: (Links to External Site)
Cause:   Configuration error

Message History:   None.

 Source Message Contents

Subject:  Cisco Security Advisory: Cisco IP Video Phone E20 Default Root Account

Hash: SHA256

Cisco IP Video Phone E20 Default Root Account

Advisory ID: cisco-sa-20120118-te

Revision 1.0

For Public Release 2012 January 18 16:00  UTC (GMT)


Cisco TelePresence Software version TE 4.1.0 contains a default
account vulnerability that could allow an unauthenticated, remote
attacker to take complete control of the affected device.

The vulnerability is due to an architectural change that was made in
the way the system maintains administrative accounts. During the
process of upgrading a Cisco IP Video Phone E20 device to TE 4.1.0, an
unsecured default account may be introduced. An attacker who is able
to take advantage of this vulnerability could log in to the device as
the root user and perform arbitrary actions with elevated privileges.

Cisco has released free software updates that address this

Workarounds that mitigate this vulnerability are available.

This advisory is available at the following link:

Affected Products

Cisco TelePresence TE Software runs on Cisco IP Video Phone E20

Vulnerable Products

Cisco IP Video Phone E20 devices that have been upgraded to TE 4.1.0
are affected.

The TE 4.1.0 release has been deferred from and, and is no longer available for download. The deferral
notice can be found at the following link: Software Deferral Notice

Administrators can determine the version of software running on their
device by logging in to the command-line interface (CLI) as the admin
user and issuing the xstatus systemunit command and finding the
SystemUnit Software Version field.


    $: ssh admin@

    TANDBERG Codec Release TE4.1.0.137456

    SW Release Date: 2011-11-18


    xstatus systemunit

    *s SystemUnit ProductType: "TANDBERG Codec"

    *s SystemUnit ProductId: "TANDBERG E20"

    *s SystemUnit Uptime: 91273

    *s SystemUnit Software Version: "TE4.1.0.137456"

    *s SystemUnit Software Name: "s52100"

    *s SystemUnit Software ReleaseDate: "2011-11-18"

    *s SystemUnit Hardware Module SerialNumber: "M1AD18B023025"

    *s SystemUnit Hardware Module MainBoard: "101390-6"

    *s SystemUnit Hardware Module BootSoftware: "U-Boot 2010.06-36"

    *s SystemUnit State System: Initialized

    *s SystemUnit State Subsystem Application: Initialized

    *s SystemUnit State Cradle: On

    *s SystemUnit State CameraLid: Off

    *s SystemUnit ContactInfo: ""

    *s SystemUnit Bluetooth Devices 1 Name: "9xxPlantronics"

    *s SystemUnit Bluetooth Devices 1 Address: "L023:8F:425M3D"

    *s SystemUnit Bluetooth Devices 1 Type: 2360324

    *s SystemUnit Bluetooth Devices 1 Status: bonded

    *s SystemUnit Bluetooth Devices 1 LastSeen: "2011-12-20 11:49:36"

    ** end


Products Confirmed Not Vulnerable

No other Cisco products are currently known to be affected by this


Cisco TelePresence TE Software historically has contained a single
account that acted as both admin and root. This single super account
utilized the same password for both the admin and root authentication
and was always enabled. With the introduction of TE 4.1.0, an
architectural change was made to help harden the devices by allowing
administrators to disable the root account. The intended result of
this change is to separate the super account into two accounts, root
and admin, while subsequently disabling the root account by default.

It was found that in many cases, customers upgrading from a previous
release of TE software to TE 4.1.0 are likely to experience an error
condition in which the root account is not properly disabled. This
creates a situation in which the root account is accessible via SSH
with a default password. It was subsequently discovered that the
command implemented to allow an administrator to enable or disable the
root account does not function correctly.

Workarounds are available in the Workarounds section of this
document.  These workarounds involve changing the root and admin
passwords to administrator-defined values.

This vulnerability is documented in Cisco bug ID CSCtw69889 and has
been assigned Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) ID

Vulnerability Scoring Details

Cisco has scored the vulnerability in this advisory based on the
Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS). The CVSS scoring in this
security advisory is in accordance with CVSS version 2.0.

CVSS is a standards-based scoring method that conveys vulnerability
severity and helps organizations determine the urgency and priority of
a response.

Cisco has provided a base and temporal score. Customers can also
compute environmental scores that help determine the impact of the
vulnerability in their own networks.

Cisco has provided additional information regarding CVSS at the
following link:

Cisco has also provided a CVSS calculator to compute the environmental
impact for individual networks at the following link:

*  CSCtw69889 - Cisco TelePresence TE Software Default Root Account Vulnerability 

CVSS Base Score - 10.0
    Access Vector -            Network
    Access Complexity -        Low
    Authentication -           None
    Confidentiality Impact -   Complete
    Integrity Impact -         Complete
    Availability Impact -      Complete

CVSS Temporal Score - 8.7
    Exploitability -           High
    Remediation Level -        Official-Fix
    Report Confidence -        Confirmed


Successful exploitation of the vulnerability could allow an
unauthenticated, remote attacker to gain root access to the affected
device.  This could allow the attacker to take arbitrary actions on
the device with elevated privileges.

Software Versions and Fixes

When considering software upgrades, customers are advised to consult
the Cisco Security Advisories and Responses archive at:
And review subsequent advisories to determine exposure and a complete
upgrade solution.

In all cases, customers should ensure that the devices to be upgraded
contain sufficient memory and confirm that current hardware and
software configurations will continue to be supported properly by the
new release. If the information is not clear, customers are advised to
contact the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) or their
contracted maintenance providers.

Cisco TelePresence Software version TE 4.1.1 is available on
and replaces TE 4.1.0.

|Affected Product                |Affected       |First Fixed       |
|                                |Version        |Version           |
|Cisco TelePresence Software TE  |TE 4.1.0       |TE 4.1.1          |
|4.x                             |               |                  |


Administrators are advised to reset both the admin and root passwords
with the following commands:

Reset Root User Password:
rootsettings on <password>

Reset Admin User Password:
xcommand systemunit adminpassword set password: <password>

Mitigations that can be deployed on Cisco devices within the network
are available in the Cisco Applied Intelligence companion document for
this advisory:

Obtaining Fixed Software

Cisco has released free software updates that address the
vulnerability described in this advisory. Prior to deploying software,
customers are advised to consult their maintenance providers or check
the software for feature set compatibility and known issues that are
specific to their environments.

Customers may only install and expect support for feature sets they
have purchased. By installing, downloading, accessing, or otherwise
using such software upgrades, customers agree to follow the terms of
the Cisco software license at:
Or as set forth at:

Do not contact or for
software upgrades.

Customers with Service Contracts

Customers with contracts should obtain upgraded software through their
regular update channels. For most customers, upgrades should be
obtained through the Software Center on at:

Customers Using Third-Party Support Organizations

Customers with Cisco products that are provided or maintained through
prior or existing agreements with third-party support organizations,
such as Cisco Partners, authorized resellers, or service providers,
should contact that organization for assistance with the appropriate
course of action.

The effectiveness of any workaround or fix depends on specific
customer situations, such as product mix, network topology, traffic
behavior, and organizational mission. Because of the variety of
affected products and releases, customers should consult their service
providers or support organizations to ensure that any applied
workaround or fix is the most appropriate in the intended network
before it is deployed.

Customers Without Service Contracts

Customers who purchase directly from Cisco but do not hold a Cisco
service contract and customers who make purchases through third-party
vendors but are unsuccessful in obtaining fixed software through their
point of sale should obtain upgrades by contacting the Cisco Technical
Assistance Center (TAC):

  * +1 800 553 2447 (toll free from within North America) 
  * +1 408 526 7209 (toll call from anywhere in the world) 
  * e-mail:

Customers should have the product serial number available and be
prepared to provide the URL of this advisory as evidence of
entitlement to a free upgrade. Customers without service contracts
should request free upgrades through the TAC.

Refer to Cisco Worldwide Contacts at:
For additional TAC contact information, including localized telephone
numbers, instructions, and e-mail addresses for support in various

Exploitation and Public Announcements

The Cisco Product Security Incidence Response Team (PSIRT) is not
aware of any public announcements or malicious use of the
vulnerability that is described in this advisory.

This vulnerability was discovered internally.

Status of This Notice: Final


A stand-alone copy or Paraphrase of the text of this document that
omits the distribution URL in the following section is an uncontrolled
copy, and may lack important information or contain factual errors.


This advisory is posted on Cisco Security Intelligence Operations at
the following link:

Additionally, a text version of this advisory is clear signed with the
Cisco PSIRT PGP key and circulated among the following e-mail


Future updates of this advisory, if any, will reside on but
may not be announced on mailing lists. Users can monitor this
advisory's URL for any updates.

Revision History

| Revision 1.0   | 2012-January-18    | Initial Public Release      |

Cisco Security Procedures

Complete information about reporting security vulnerabilities in Cisco
products, obtaining assistance with security incidents, and
registering to receive security information from Cisco is available on at:
This web page includes instructions for press inquiries regarding
Cisco Security Advisories. All Cisco Security Advisories are available
at: go/psirt

Copyright 2010-2012 Cisco Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.

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