Cisco warns its WLAN security can be cracked

Friday, 3 October 2003, 4:24 PM EST

Cisco posted a security bulletin on its website on 7 August about the vulnerability of its Lightweight Extensible Authentication Protocol (Leap) to dictionary attacks, according to Ron Seide, product line manager in the company's wireless business unit.

In that bulletin, Cisco acknowledged the flaw and said, "As with most password-based authentication algorithms, Cisco Leap is vulnerable to dictionary attacks. Creating a strong password policy is the most effective way to mitigate against dictionary attacks. This includes using strong passwords and periodically expiring passwords."

Seide said Cisco believed that Leap can be made "relatively" secure with strong password policies, which can mitigate against dictionary attacks.

He added that the company also has an upgrade path to help customers migrate from Leap to its stronger Protected Extensible Authentication Protocol (PEAP) which uses one-time passwords and digital certificates. He also said Cisco has used its field sales force to tell customers about the potential problem since the security bulletin was posted.

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