Skip to main content

Backdoor In Certain Lenovo Switches Discovered

By January 26, 2018June 9th, 2022Technology News

Does your company utilize either RackSwitch or BladeCenter networking switches?  Are those switches running ENOS (the Enterprise Network Operating System)?  If so, there’s a backdoor in your network you weren’t aware of.  Even worse, it’s been there since 2004.

Engineers at Lenovo recently discovered the backdoor in the firmware when they conducted an internal security audit.  These products were added to the company’s portfolio via acquisition from Nortel, and Lenovo only just became aware of their existence.

A spokesman for the company had this to say: “The existence of mechanisms that bypass authentication or authorization are unacceptable to Lenovo and do not follow Lenovo product security or industry practices.  Lenovo has removed this mechanism from the ENOS source code and has released updated firmware for affected products.”

Updates are available on Lenovo’s website, and links to the updates are available inside the company’s security advisory on this topic.

It should be noted that this backdoor would be relatively difficult for a would-be hacker to exploit, because it’s not a hidden account whose password could be guessed at or cracked via brute force, but rather an authentication bypass mechanism that requires a strict set of conditions to trigger.  Lenovo describes the various configurations of security settings that activate the backdoor in their security advisory.

In any case, the presence of a backdoor into your network (even one that’s hard to trigger and access) isn’t something to be taken lightly.  If you’re able, grab the firmware updates from Lenovo at your next opportunity and seal the breach.  If that is impractical for some reason, Lenovo has spelled out a few mitigation strategies your company can apply as a stop gap, until you can get the firmware updates in place.

Kudos to Lenovo from their swift, deft handling of the issue!

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.