Secret Backdoor Affects More Fortinet Firewalls

Jan 26, 2016

Several current systems could fall victim to the attack

Security hardware vendor Fortinet has announced that the hidden backdoor in its Fortigate firewall devices, which was revealed earlier this month, affects more systems than previously thought. In a recent post, the company said the hidden backdoor with a hard-coded password, which the company described as a “remote management feature,” had been removed in July 2014.

A later blog entry at the Fortinet site (dated January 20) admits the backdoor is still present in several current models. The company strongly recommends an immediate software update for users with the following Fortinet devices:

  • FortiAnalyzer: 5.0.5 to 5.0.11 and 5.2.0 to 5.2.4 (branch 4.3 is not affected)
  • FortiSwitch: 3.3.0 to 3.3.2
  • FortiCache: 3.0.0 to 3.0.7 (branch 3.1 is not affected)
  • FortiOS 4.1.0 to 4.1.10
  • FortiOS 4.2.0 to 4.2.15
  • FortiOS 4.3.0 to 4.3.16
  • FortiOS 5.0.0 to 5.0.7

The company claims it created the backdoor to access its own products for management purposes, although they now acknowledge that building an undocumented backdoor with a hard-coded password was not an inspired choice for a security company. Sample code for exploiting the backdoor has already been posted online.

The announcement comes a month after the discovery of a backdoor in Juniper NetScreen firewall systems. According to reports, the Juniper backdoor was not created by the vendor but was slipped in without the knowledge of Juniper – possibly as a malicious refinement of an earlier exploit created by the NSA.

Users should upgrade their Fortinet and Juniper systems as soon as possible. If you own a different firewall device, you might want to take this as a wake-up call also to install any vendor updates – and keep an eye on your vendor's security blog. Something tells me we haven't seen the last of these secret firewall backdoors.    

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