Cisco is issuing new passwords to registered users of its website due to a vulnerability in a search tool that could expose log-in details.
Cisco said it had investigated the search engine vulnerability and taken steps to correct it. However, the incident comes at a time when Cisco is facing other security challenges.
A flaw discovered in Cisco's Internetworking operating system (IOS) earlier this month could allow a hacker to gain remote access to any router using a buffer overflow attack.
Analyst firm Gartner warned that the discovery of the flaw in IOS opened up the possibility of more serious exploits against routers and switches and could stem from the theft of Cisco source code in 2004.
Gartner analysts Paul Proctor and Mark Fabbi warned that future versions of IOS that support virtual processing would increase the risk from generally available code that can spread as a worm.
Gartner advised users to pay close attention to IOS vulnerabilities, treat them seriously and follow advisory guidelines to upgrade to a newer version of the software at the earliest opportunity. Proctor and Fabbi urged users to patch internet-facing routers first because they are at greater risk than internal routers.
They warned users to shield networks from IOS-based buffer/ heap/stack overflow vulnerabilities by using a layered defence. This should include network-based intrusion prevention technologies to block exploits as well as executing normal test-and-patch deployment processes, Proctor and Fabbi said.