Hidden 'backdoor' in Dell security software gives hackers full access

The critical flaw gives an attacker 'full control' of all connected devices.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor
Image: File photo

Security researchers are warning Dell security management software admins to patch their systems after finding six high-risk vulnerabilities.

One of the highest-rated "critical" flaws involves a hidden default account with an easily-guessable password in Dell's Sonicwall Global Management System (GMS), a widely-used software used to centrally monitor and manage an enterprise's array of networked security devices.

The vulnerability could allow an attacker "full control" of the software and all connected appliances, such as virtual private networking (VPN) appliances and firewalls.

The flaws were detailed in an advisory posted by researchers at Digital Defense, a Texas-based firm that has a commercial stake in the vulnerability scanning business.

However, there's no evidence to suggest the flaws have been actively exploited by attackers, the researchers said.

Dell acknowledged the flaws affect the most recent versions of the GMS software -- versions 8.0 and 8.1 -- and issued patches. In a security advisory, the company said it "highly recommends" that admins install the hotfix, available from its support pages.

A Dell spokesperson said in an email late Thursday:

The recent situation raised by Digital Defense, Inc. is related to six vulnerabilities in the Dell SonicWALL Global Management System (GMS), which could allow an attacker control of the software and connected appliances. Unlike intentional "backdoors," these were software flaws that could allow users to enter the system.
Upon learning of the situation, SonicWALL immediately issued patches to the affected versions of the GMS software and there is no evidence to suggest the flaws have been actively exploited by attackers. Customer security is a top concern and priority for Dell, and we strongly encourage customers who want to ensure they have the latest versions of their SonicWALL software to visit [the support website].
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