Security Experts:

Polycom Patches Flaw in VVX Business Media Phones

Polycom has released software updates to address a path traversal vulnerability affecting many of the company’s VVX Business Media phones.

The vulnerability was identified by Jake Reynolds of Depth Security in June. While analyzing the web-based admin interface of a Polycom VVX 600 IP phone, the researcher noticed that the requests used by the interface to display background images and ringtones contained actual filenames.

“Anyone involved in web application security knows that it is dangerous to expose file operation arguments like file paths/names to web users. It is often indicative that an application is vulnerable to path traversal attacks, as was the case here,” Depth Security explained in a blog post. “Using ‘../../’ we were able to back out of the folder containing the ring tones and background images and access other sensitive file contents like ‘/etc/passwd’.”

According to Polycom, the vulnerability affects entry level Polycom VVX 101 and 201 phones, basic VVX 300 and 310 models, mid-range 400 and 410 models, the VVX 500 performance model, and VVX 600 and 1500 executive phones.

The security hole plagues versions 4.1.8 and earlier, 5.2.3 and earlier, 5.3.1 and earlier, and 5.4.0 and earlier of Polycom’s unified communications (UC) software. The issue was reported to the vendor in mid-June and it was addressed in late November with the release of versions 5.2.4, 5.3.2 and 5.4.0A. Polycom published an advisory detailing the vulnerability last week.

The company has advised Polycom VVX phone users to update the software to the latest versions. Customers who cannot install the updates are advised to mitigate the vulnerability by disabling the web server on the affected devices.

Polycom has assigned a CVSS score of 5.8 to this path traversal, which puts it in the medium severity category. Medium severity issues are vulnerabilities that are difficult to exploit or are “limited to a significant degree by factors such as default configuration.” Coinciding with the release of the patches, Polycom has also updated its whitepaper on recommended best security practices for unified communications.

Polycom published this year a dozen security advisories describing vulnerabilities in various products. The company has released patches for several major security holes, including the ones known as Ghost, Logjam and POODLE. In 2014, it informed customers that multiple products had been plagued by the GNU Bash vulnerability dubbed ShellShock.

Polycom provides telepresence, video, voice and infrastructure solutions to more than 415,000 organizations worldwide.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.