Feeds

Hotel hacking could pump smut into every room

Oh, err Missus

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Hotel hybrid broadband internet and TV-on-demand entertainment systems are open to attack, security researchers warn. Penetration testing firm SecureTest has identified a number of vulnerabilities in the implementation of hotel broadband systems delivered using Cisco's LRE (long-reach Ethernet) technology. Using a laptop connected to a hotel network, SecureTest found it was possible to control the TV streams sent to each room or gain access to other user’s laptops.

The security holes uncovered call to mind the security exploits in hotel infra-red controls recently uncovered by Adam Laurie, technical director at secure hosting outfit The Bunker. Ken Munro, managing director of SecureTest, said that its research covered security weaknesses in IP (as opposed to infra-red) systems.

During a stay in a hotel belonging to an unnamed worldwide chain, a SecureTest staffer paid for internet connectivity. He found TCP port 5001 open on the in-room IP enabled TV providing the service. Connecting to this port a full TV maintenance menu was displayed over which it was possible to carry out test procedures, change channels or turn the TV on and off.

According to SecureTest, a hacker might be able to access this menu and configure the system to display adult content on every TV channel. The port could also be used to broadcast content directly from a laptop over the TV. In theory, this could enable hackers to download and broadcast any material throughout the hotel complex.

Another vulnerability revolved around insecure network configuration. There appeared to be no segregation between client devices, creating a means for a user to access other devices connected to the same hotel network. The system scrutinised used a Cisco 575 LRE box, which allows existing CAT2 (telephone) cabling to carry on-demand services avoiding the need to roll out CAT5 (twisted pair) cabling to each room.

The security risk lies not in terms of this technology but in how it was implemented, problems SecureTest has seen replicated at other hotels. During a previous investigation, SecureTest used a different fixed internet/TV hotel system implemented by another hotel chain and located a connection to an internal FTP server. This provided open access to information such as a backup database of TV usage.

"A hacker or disgruntled employee could get their kicks by accessing and manipulating the TV menu, but this breach has much wider implications. An individual could broadcast their own advertising or an activist their own political message to every room," said SecureTest's Munro. "Moreover, fixed internet access is inadequately protected in many cases. People plug into a hotel network assuming it’s a trusted connection but it’s not. Unless they have a personal firewall running, fraudsters can snoop on desktops at leisure. Hotels and suppliers of guest entertainment systems need to act now to prevent these scenarios." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
JLaw, Kate Upton exposed in celeb nude pics hack
100 women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.