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Cisco WLSE and HSE devices contain hardcoded username and password

Vulnerability Note VU#659228

Original Release Date: 2004-04-07 | Last Revised: 2004-04-23


A default account with a common username and password exists in two Cisco products. An attacker with knowledge of this account information can compromise any of these devices on the network.


A default account with a known, fixed username and password combination exists in some version of the Cisco Wireless LAN Solution Engine (WLSE) and Cisco Hosting Solution Engine (HSE). The WLSE provides centralized management for Cisco Wireless LAN infrastructures. The HSE is a hardware-based product that provides fault and performance information about the Layer 2-3 hosting infrastructure and Layer 4-7 hosted services.

According to the Cisco Security Advisory:

A default username/password pair is present in all releases of the Wireless LAN Solution Engine (WLSE) and Hosting Solution Engine (HSE) software. A user who logs in using this username has complete control of the device. This username cannot be disabled. There is no workaround.


An attacker with knowledge of default account information and the ability to access a vulnerable device may take administrative control of the device. Immediate impacts of this level of access include, but are not limited to, the ability to add new users or modify details of existing users, and the ability change the device's configuration. Cisco lists the following practical examples of impacts resulting from exploitation:

    • For WLSE this means that an adversary can hide the presence of a rogue Access Point or change the Radio Frequency plan, potentially causing system-wide outages. The first action may cause long term loss of information confidentiality and integrity. The second action can yield Denial-of-Service (DOS).
    • For HSE this may lead up to illegal re-directing of a Web site with the ultimate loss of revenue.
    • In both cases the device itself may be used as a launching platform for further attacks. Such attacks could be directed at your organization, or towards a third party.


Apply a patch from the vendor
Patches are available for this vulnerability. Please see Cisco's Security Advisory for more information.


There are no workarounds.

Vendor Information


Cisco Systems Inc. Affected

Updated:  April 08, 2004



Vendor Statement

We have not received a statement from the vendor.

Vendor Information

The vendor has not provided us with any further information regarding this vulnerability.


Cisco Systems, Inc. has published Cisco Security Advisory cisco-sa-20040407 in response to this issue. Users are strongly encouraged to review this advisory and apply the patches it refers to.

If you have feedback, comments, or additional information about this vulnerability, please send us email.

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Thanks to Cisco Systems Product Security Incident Response Team for reporting this vulnerability.

This document was written by Chad R Dougherty.

Other Information

CVE IDs: None
Severity Metric: 18.23
Date Public: 2004-04-07
Date First Published: 2004-04-07
Date Last Updated: 2004-04-23 00:07 UTC
Document Revision: 19

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