What to Know about Cisco Duo Windows App Vulnerability

  • 12 September 2023
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What to Know about Cisco Duo Windows App Vulnerability
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The problem here is a security vulnerability in the Cisco Duo Device Health Application for Windows, tracked as (CVE-2023-20229). This vulnerability allows a low-privileged attacker to carry out directory traversal attacks and potentially overwrite arbitrary files on a vulnerable device.



An attacker can exploit this vulnerability using a web browser and knowledge of where to look for default files and directories on the system.

Successful exploitation could lead to arbitrary files being overwritten on the system with SYSTEM-level privileges.This could result in a denial-of-service (DoS) issue or data loss on the affected system. The attacker could potentially compromise the integrity and availability of the system.


Threat Modeling to Solve the Problem

Threat modeling is a structured approach to identifying and mitigating security vulnerabilities in a system. In this context, threat modeling can help address the vulnerability (CVE-2023-20229) in the Cisco Duo Device Health Application for Windows


Identify assets and attack surface

Identify the assets at risk (i.e., the application and the data it handles) and understand the attack surface (i.e., the points at which an attacker can interact with the application).

Identify threats

Consider potential threats, such as attackers attempting directory traversal attacks to access sensitive files.

Assess vulnerabilities

Evaluate the specific vulnerability (e.g., insufficient input validation) that leads to the directory traversal issue.

Evaluate impact

Understand the impact of successful exploitation, including potential data loss and DoS scenarios.

Mitigate risks

Implement security measures to mitigate the risks associated with this vulnerability, including:

  • Implementing proper input validation to prevent directory traversal attacks.
  • Applying the software upgrades provided by Cisco to fix the vulnerability.
  • Monitoring and logging attempts at directory traversal or unauthorized file access.
  • Reviewing and limiting privileges to minimize the potential impact of successful attacks.

Test security controls

Verify that the implemented security controls effectively mitigate the vulnerability by conducting penetration testing and vulnerability assessments.

Monitor Continuously

Continuously monitor the application for any new vulnerabilities or changes in the threat landscape. Update threat models accordingly.

Education and awareness

Educate development and operations teams about secure coding practices to prevent similar vulnerabilities in the future.


By following a threat modeling process, organizations can systematically identify, assess, and mitigate security risks, ultimately improving the security posture of their applications and systems. In this case, it would help in addressing the directory traversal vulnerability and prevent potential exploitation by malicious actors.


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