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Fortinet Firewalls Having Hard-Coded Password which Performs as a Backdoor

A vastly suspicious code has been detected in Fortinet's FortiOS just after weeks of using insecure code by Juniper in its products. This suspicious code has a challenge-and-response verification routine to log into servers with the secure shell (SSH) protocol.

A hardcoded password (FGTAbc11*xy+Qqz27) was detected concealed in the firewall software which could be easily used to exploit servers running FortiOS. Ralf-Philipp Weinmann, a security researcher, discovered the problem in the Juniper hardware, has confirmed about this problem which is being mentioned as FortiOS SSH Undocumented Interactive Login Vulnerability.

A spokeswoman told El Reg that: "this was a management verification problem and not a backdoor vulnerability, which was detected by our security team for products while reviewing and testing their efforts. After careful investigation and analysis, we could verify that this problem was not because of any malicious activity by any external or internal party".

Fortinet issued a security advisory on January 12th, 2016, explaining that SSH backdoor problem affects FortiOS versions 4.3.0 to 4.3.16 and 5.0.0 to 5.0.7. This shields FortiOS forms from November 2012 to July 2014. These variants have been revealed as completely exploitable. This code permits devices to run older variants of FortiOS to be accessed with illegal SSH connections and Fortinet has allotted High risk grade to this issue.

Fortinet issued the advisory to secure their customers from the threat. As per the company, it is definitely possible that some slack IT admins have not updated the software since then. It is also possible that even if IT admins updated the software on time, their machines could have been penetrated before the fix was released.

Whether it is a backdoor or a "management authentication issue", it is a quite major problem for some system administrators and they may not be happy with this news.

Meanwhile, if you are using FortiOS, then ensure that the firmware is updated. The news of this hole will make malicious hacking community motivated and certainly many are already looking for vulnerable targets.

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