Laughing in the Face of Danger: Cisco IOS XE Devices Play Hide and Seek with Cyber Bandits!

While you’re feeling neglected, remember the Cisco IOS XE devices. They’re the unsung heroes battling cyberattacks, with hackers bypassing their authentication faster than you can say ‘Cisco IOS XE Vulnerability Exploitation’. It’s a wild cyber-west out there, folks, and these devices are fighting with more backdoors than a secret agent movie!

Hot Take:

Next time you’re feeling a bit neglected, just be thankful you’re not a Cisco IOS XE device. These poor pieces of tech are being exploited left, right, and center – and I’m not talking about being made to work overtime. We’re dealing with full-on cyber attacks here, people! Hackers have found a way to bypass their authentication and we’re seeing more backdoors than a secret agent movie. Patches are being pushed out, but it seems we’re still a few steps behind these cyber wrongdoers. It’s like a wild cyber-west out there!

Key Points:

  • Public exploit code available for a critical Cisco IOS XE vulnerability, CVE-2023-20198, affecting tens of thousands of devices.
  • Security assessment company,, has shared how hackers can bypass Cisco IOS XE device authentication to gain full control.
  • Attacks can create a new user with level 15 privileges, giving them complete control of the device.
  • Threat intelligence platform, LeakIX, confirmed the exploit could successfully hijack Cisco IOS XE devices.
  • Despite Cisco releasing patches, thousands of devices continue to be compromised.

Need to know more?

Raiders of the Lost Authentication

Experts at have spilled the beans on how attackers are exploiting Cisco devices. By cleverly encoding an HTTP request, they can bypass authentication and reach the Web Services Management Agent service. Once in, they can execute commands that let them create a user with full privileges. It's like handing over the keys to the kingdom!

The Backdoor Bandits

LeakIX, the cyber equivalent of the neighbourhood watch, confirmed that Cisco IOS XE devices are being successfully hijacked. Their honeypots were triggered by the threat actors, allowing them to see the commands being executed on the devices. The commands were mainly for reconnaissance purposes, suggesting that the attackers are looking for high-value targets.

Patch and Pray

In response to the crisis, Cisco has been patching IOS XE versions to address the vulnerability. However, version 17.3 is still on the waiting list, as a new release is yet to become available. Despite the patches, thousands of devices are still being compromised, which is a bit like fixing a dam with a band-aid.

The Invisible Invasion

Threat actors started exploiting the vulnerability when it was a zero-day, even before Cisco disclosed it. Even after disclosure and patching, tens of thousands of devices showed signs of compromise. The number of compromised devices suddenly dropped, but not because the issue was resolved. Instead, the hackers just altered their malicious code to hide their activities. It's like a game of hide and seek, but with much higher stakes.
Tags: Cisco IOS XE vulnerability, compromised devices, CVE-2023-20198, digital forensics**, exploit code,, security patches, Software Maintenance Updates, threat actors