Written by 6:03 am Cyber Security

Cisco Duo for Windows Logon and RDP

Cisco Duo, a multi-factor authentication (MFA) solution, has been widely adopted by organisations to enhance security for user logins. However, recent reports have surfaced concerning a potential vulnerability in Duo for Windows Logon and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) implementations. This vulnerability could allow attackers to bypass authentication mechanisms and gain unauthorised system access.

Understanding the Vulnerability:

The reported vulnerability, CVE-2023-42284, lies in how Duo for Windows Logon interacts with the underlying Windows authentication process.

Here’s a simplified breakdown:

  1. User enters credentials: The user enters their username and password on the login screen.
  2. Duo prompt appears: Duo intercepts the authentication attempt and displays a prompt requiring an additional factor, like a code from a mobile device.
  3. Bypass potential: If users cancel the Duo prompt without entering the additional code, they are presented with a standard Windows login screen without any further MFA challenge. In this scenario, an attacker who gains access to a user’s machine (through social engineering, malware, or other means) could bypass MFA by simply cancelling the Duo prompt and logging in with the stolen credentials.

Impact and Mitigation:

While the reported vulnerability requires unauthorised access to a user’s device to exploit, it raises concerns about the overall effectiveness of Duo in securing Windows Logon and RDP environments. Organisations relying on these integrations should take immediate action to mitigate the risks:

  • Apply the patch: Cisco has released a patch (version that addresses the vulnerability. Applying this patch on all affected systems is crucial to close the bypass window.
  • Enforce stricter authentication policies: Consider implementing stricter authentication policies that don’t allow users to bypass the Duo prompt and require mandatory entry of the additional factor for successful login.
  • Raise user awareness: Educate users about the vulnerability and the importance of never cancelling the Duo prompt during the login process. Train them to report any suspicious activity or attempts to bypass MFA.

Additional Considerations:

  • This vulnerability highlights the importance of layered security approaches. While MFA is vital, it shouldn’t be the sole security measure. Implementing additional security controls, such as strong password policies, endpoint protection software, and network segmentation, is crucial for a comprehensive defence strategy.
  • Organisations should consider alternative authentication methods beyond Duo for Windows Logon and RDP environments. Biometric authentication with fingerprint scanners or security tokens could offer additional layers of security.


The potential bypass vulnerability in Cisco Duo for Windows Logon and RDP serves as a reminder of the evolving threat landscape. Organisations must remain vigilant, actively patch vulnerabilities, and continuously evaluate their security posture to avoid potential threats. By implementing a combination of technical controls, user education, and ongoing monitoring, organisations can mitigate risks and ensure the effectiveness of their multi-factor authentication solutions.

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