How about a network device that should care for your network security which has a back-door that allows access by everyone from everywhere? Yes, that’s scary, right?
Exactly this has happened to Juniper users – and we all are affected.
For your information, Juniper is the second largest company selling Routers, Switches, Firewalls and other network products after Cisco. Their products are widely used from small businesses, large companies, Network providers to governmental networks.
Recently Juniper indicated that they had discovered unauthorized code in their ScreenOS software used in their Netscreen firewalls. It turned out that this code contains two back-doors which allows full device access and VPN traffic monitoring. Further investigations revealed that all of their firewalls running software versions shipped from 2013 until recently can be accessed from everywhere by everyone via SSH using any username and password “<<< %s(un=’%s’) = %u”. An update will fix this issue.
So far, it is unknown how this backdoor slipped into their code.
Currently, Morpheus and Shodan finds more the 30.000 of these devices.
Maybe you personally don’t use Juniper hardware but be assured, your Provider, Bank, online Store, Company you are working for may likely use Juniper hardware.
It was good that Juniper offensively informed about their findings so that security researchers were able to start their own investigations. However, it took two years to find the back-doors. My personal assumption is, that organizations like NSA, GCHQ, Asian or Russian organizations are responsible for this and moreover, I further assume that similar Back-doors are available in other Network Devices such as those from Cisco and other “big Players”.
I even now see the other Back-doors I mentioned in my blog (here and here) from a different perspective. Not unlikely that these back-doors were not results of brain-dead developers but have the same source.
Regardless whether my assumptions are correct, many networks are currently at high risk. Even more because not only NSA, GHCQ etc. are able to access our data, now even inexperienced criminals can.
Due to the impact of this issue, there is not much one can do other than to follow following rules that make sense regardless of this impact:
Of course, there is much more we can do but most of the above is either easy to do or simply mandatory and without alternative.
Regardless, I wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and all the Best and secure 2016!