Cisco Threatens Web Site That Leaked Exploit Presentation

Late Friday afternoon, Rick Forno, a security consultant who had put a copy of Michael Lynn's briefing on his Web site had replaced the PDF file with a notice that began, "I am awaiting a copy of what I understand is a cease-and-desist (or takedown) notice that was sent to my Web host earlier this evening.

"Upon review of the notice, I will respond accordingly and immediately, but have no intention of rolling over," Forno went on.

He had moved the file from its earlier location and placed it here, at least temporarily. (Note: the link may be inactive if Forno removes the file.)

As of about 5 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, Friday, Lynn's briefing, "The Holy Grail: Cisco IOS Shellcode And Exploitation Techniques," was also available on There was no indication on that site that it would soon remove the file, which is a hard copy of the 35 slides Lynn used during his Wednesday briefing.

Sponsored post

Earlier Friday, a Cisco spokesman, John Noh, has said "We're aware of the PDF and we're having discussions with our counsels now. All I can say at the moment is that we're going to take every reasonable measure to protect the interests of our customers and our company."

It seems one of those measures will be to demand that sites now hosting the PDF file remove it.

Lynn's briefing led to an injunction against him and the Black Hat conference sought by Cisco and ISS. Thursday, a settlement was reached that required Black Hat to destroy video of the talk and Lynn to hand over all reference materials. Lynn was also forbidden to discuss any information about the exploit technique in the future.

The muzzling of the conference and Lynn couldn't put the genie back in the bottle, however, as the slides showed up in a message on the Full Disclosure security mailing list, and then on several sites.

The original message to Full Disclosure was posted by someone identifying himself as Larry Blumenthal, who wrote "Information wants to be free. Time to free it!" as he included a .zip archive of the PDF file. The file has since been purged from the list.

Lynn's presentation begins provocatively -- it's easy to see why Cisco would object -- with an image of a sinking Titanic under the phrase "Another Unbreakable System." Other slides with such topics as "Misconceptions" include bullet items such as "It is not possible to overflow buffers on IOS." Even his nine-step wrap of the demonstrated exploitation technique has an edge, with step 9 reading "World Domination."

Reportedly the slides slightly differ from the ones Lynn used at Black Hat. Specifically, they still bear the ISS logo -- which Lynn had removed prior to the briefing since he had resigned from the Atlanta-based company in order to give the talk -- and the stack lacked the link to Lynn's resume, which was on one of the last slides in the real deal.