Public Vulnerability Reports

Cisco Secure Desktop Privilege Escalation Vulnerability



Cisco Secure Desktop allows secure VPN connections from remote PCs and offers functionality to ensure PCs meet administrator approved security policies as well as having features that securely wipe downloaded data after disconnect. More information is available on the vendors site at:


Local exploitation of an insecure permissions vulnerability in Cisco Systems Secure Desktop product could allow privilege escalation attacks to be conducted by local users.

When Cisco Secure Desktop Web VPN product is installed on a NTFS formatted drive, permissions are set on all files to grant full control to all users. Certain files run as a system service and can be easily replaced.


Exploiting this vulnerability allows unprivileged local users to gain system-level permissions to their local PCs. Exploitation is trivial and no exploit code is required. Binaries for locally running services can be renamed while they are running, making exploitation straight forward.


iDefense has confirmed this vulnerability exists on Cisco Secure Desktop version Previous versions are suspected to be vulnerable.


Correcting the file permissions of the Secure Desktop installation directory would prevent exploitation.


Cisco has addressed this vulnerability within version of the Cisco Secure Desktop Software. More information can be obtained from Cisco's advisory at:


A Mitre Corp. Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) number has not been assigned yet.


10/04/2006 Initial vendor notification
10/06/2006 Initial vendor response
11/08/2006 Coordinated public disclosure


This vulnerability was reported to iDefense by Titon of Bastard Labs.

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Copyright © 2006 Verisign, Inc.

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