HP warns users about flaw in network management product

Enterprises using a key network management product from Hewlett-Packard may be vulnerable to a serious flaw allowing remote attacks, the company has warned.

The problem is in Network Node Manager, an HP OpenView product that carries out auto-discovery, control and monitoring of network devices via SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol). A patch isn’t yet available, but HP has issued an advisory describing a work-around to temporarily solve the problem.

A script called connectedNodes.ovpl fails to properly check inputs in a particular “node” parameter before running them as command-line arguments, according to HP. That means a remote attacker could execute malicious shell commands on a system running Network Node Manager, via a specially crafted input including shell meta characters, HP said.

“This vulnerability could be exploited remotely by an unauthorized user to gain privileged access,” HP said in the advisory.

FrSIRT, the French Security Incident Response Team, said three other scripts have the same problem — cdpView.ovpl, freeIPaddrs.ovpl and ecscmg.ovpl. The bug affects Network Node Manager versions 6.2, 6.4, 7.01 and 7.50 on HP-UX, Solaris, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Linux. FrSIRT said the flaw was “high risk,” its second most severe rating.

No patch is yet available, but users can ward off danger by moving the affected scripts to different directories, HP said. This shouldn’t result in too much disruption — for example, HP says that moving the connectedNodes.ovpl script will remove the ability to display connected nodes in tabular form.

In January, HP warned that enterprise IT infrastructure is still far from being secure, despite industry efforts to tighten up security.

“The old architecture is too open for today’s open world,” said Tony Redmond, chief technology officer of HP Services, at the time. “We need the hardware, operating systems and applications to all be tightened up and work together to give us true trustworthy computing.”

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