DHS alert closes router holes

DHS Technical Cyber Alert

Several serious security vulnerabilities in routers used to move traffic through the Internet were discovered this week, prompting the Homeland Security Department to issue a cyberalert to technical operators who manage the Internet backbone.

By mid-afternoon on April 21, the agency's top cybersecurity official was telling Congress that the router vulnerabilities had largely been mitigated in response to the alert.

Amit Yoran, director of the National Cyber Security Division at DHS, said most of the large Internet backbone operators instituted workarounds for the vulnerabilities discovered in the Border Gateway Protocol and in a major router vendor's implementation of the Simple Network Management Protocol.

Speaking before the House Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census, Yoran said DHS worked closely with Cisco Systems Inc. to craft an alert, which was sent out via e-mail using the National Cyber Alert System.

"Those warnings were rapidly heeded by much of the backbone community," he said, "and the likelihood of significant Internet disruption as a result of this vulnerability has been minimized."

The United Kingdom's National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Centre first reported the Border Gateway Protocol flaw.

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