FBI investigating Juniper's security breach

The investigatory department is worried foreign governments could use the flaw to hack into its systems

The FBI is investigating Juniper Networks' software breach after it came to light criminals were infiltrating VPN networks, allowing them to eavesdrop on VPN connections.

The US government is concerned the hole could be used by hackers working for foreign governments to hack into its systems and those of private businesses using a back door flaw. In fact, some officials think a foreign government (either Russia or China) set it up because it is such a sophisticated way of breaking into a network.

One FBI official said the hole was the same as "stealing a master key to get into any government building," when referring to its severity, CNN reports.

A senior administration official told the news outlet, "We are aware of the vulnerabilities recently announced by Juniper. The Department of Homeland Security has been and remains in close touch with the company. The administration remains committed to enhancing our national cybersecurity by raising our cyber defenses, disrupting adversary activity, and effectively responding to incidents when they occur."

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

Juniper Networks firm said it discovered the problem during a "recent code review", although it did not say how the backdoor occurred or how long it had been present.

"A skilled attacker would likely remove these entries from the local log file, thus effectively eliminating any reliable signature that the device had been compromised," Juniper said in the software update.

Juniper has since issued a software update that it says closed the hole, so hackers were no longer able to break into the systems.

According to a blog posting, Bob Worrall, senior vice president and chief information officer said that the company found "unauthorized code in ScreenOS that could allow a knowledgeable attacker to gain administrative access to NetScreen devices and to decrypt VPN connections".

"Once we identified these vulnerabilities, we launched an investigation into the matter, and worked to develop and issue patched releases for the latest versions of ScreenOS," he said.

He added that the firm had not received any reports of these vulnerabilities being exploited. "However, we strongly recommend that customers update their systems and apply the patched releases with the highest priority."

Advertisement - Article continues below

Worrall said further information about the update can be found the company's Security Incident Response website.

The security advisory described how a hacker could gain unauthorised remote administrative access to the device over SSH or telnet. "Exploitation of this vulnerability can lead to complete compromise of the affected system," the advisory stated.

"Upon exploitation of this vulnerability, the log file would contain an entry that system' had logged on followed by password authentication for a username."

The advisory noted that a skilled attacker would likely remove these entries from the log file, thus effectively eliminating any reliable signature that the device had been compromised.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

A second issue may allow a knowledgeable attacker who can monitor VPN traffic to decrypt that traffic. It is independent of the first issue.

"There is no way to detect that this vulnerability was exploited," it said.

Advertisement - Article continues below

This article was originally published on 18/12/15 and has been updated (most recently on 22/12/15) to reflect new information. 

Featured Resources

Digitally perfecting the supply chain

How new technologies are being leveraged to transform the manufacturing supply chain

Download now

Three keys to maximise application migration and modernisation success

Harness the benefits that modernised applications can offer

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

The 3 approaches of Breach and Attack Simulation technologies

A guide to the nuances of BAS, helping you stay one step ahead of cyber criminals

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/security/internet-security/354417/avast-and-avg-extensions-pulled-from-chrome
internet security

Avast and AVG extensions pulled from Chrome

19 Dec 2019
Visit/security/354156/google-confirms-android-cameras-can-be-hijacked-to-spy-on-you
Security

Google confirms Android cameras can be hijacked to spy on you

20 Nov 2019

Most Popular

Visit/microsoft-windows/32066/what-to-do-if-youre-still-running-windows-7
Microsoft Windows

What to do if you're still running Windows 7

14 Jan 2020
Visit/operating-systems/25802/17-windows-10-problems-and-how-to-fix-them
operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems - and how to fix them

13 Jan 2020
Visit/operating-systems/microsoft-windows/354526/memes-and-viking-funerals-the-internet-reacts-to-the
Microsoft Windows

Memes and Viking funerals: The internet reacts to the death of Windows 7

14 Jan 2020
Visit/hardware/laptops/354533/dell-xps-13-new-9300-hands-on-review-chasing-perfection
Laptops

Dell XPS 13 (New 9300) hands-on review: Chasing perfection

14 Jan 2020